Three Keys: Detroit
The Blue Jackets did a lot of things well in their season-opening win over the Nashville Predators, but to a man, the players will tell you that Saturday night means nothing now.
Monday brings a new day and a new test, and tonight, it's the Detroit Red Wings who are in town and in a bad mood. As we discussed in today's Game Day preview, the Red Wings dropped a 6-0 decision in their season opener in St. Louis over the weekend, and there wasn't much to be pleased with if your name is Mike Babcock. The Red Wings held a practice yesterday at Nationwide Arena, and there was a lot of talk about working harder and putting forth a much better effort tonight against the Blue Jackets.
Here's where we are for tonight: there are no lineup changes expected for the Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal and make his second straight start. He made 32 saves and stood tall in the shootout as the Blue Jackets got two points against the Predators on Saturday night.
Let's get start with my "three keys" to success for the Blue Jackets tonight:
1. Start fast: it's opening night, the building will be full and rocking, so high emotions aren't going to be a factor in the early going for either side. But the Blue Jackets still have to stick to their game and commit to their system, which is exactly what they did against the Predators. An early goal or sustained pressure can go a long way toward a favorable outcome, especially with the home crowd behind them on what should be an exciting opening night.
2. Check, check, check: this is what you have to do against Detroit's skilled players -- make it hard for them to play in all three zones. Limit the time and space for their top line and put pressure on their defense by making them go back for pucks and spent time inside their own end. It's a simple formula, but when you do it properly and execute it for 60 minutes, the results typically follow. The Blue Jackets have said throughout training camp that their goal is to become a better defensive team, and putting a stout defensive effort against Detroit tonight would be a terrific start.
3. Take advantage: if the Blue Jackets do what they need to do and stick to their system, they're going to get opportunities. The key against a team like the Red Wings is to bear down and make those chances count, because you never know how many you're going to get in the course of a game. Detroit doesn't yield much defensively, so the only way for Columbus to get chances is to work for them, whether it's off the rush or via special teams.
There will be more updates coming throughout the day on BlueJackets.com and CBJ Today, so keep it locked right here!