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Scouting the Enemy: Columbus Blue Jackets

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Record:24-22-5

Leading scorers: Rick Nash (22G, 25A), Kristian Huselius (14G, 21A)

Blogs: Light the Lamp

I wish I knew where to begin a preview with regards to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but outside of Pascal Leclaire on the shelf for the season and Rick Nash on the cover of NHL2K9 I'm at a bit of a loss.

Oddly enough the comparisons between the Blue Jackets and Penguins go deeper than the surface would lead to believe.  Both the Pens and Jackets are on the outside looking in - the playoff picture that is. 

Nash picked up a hat trick against the Red Wings last Tuesday, something that further stands as proof that he is an offensive threat.  Goalie Steve Mason is a bit of a wonderkid, but also shows signs of shakiness.  I don't know what else you'd expect from a 20-year-old playing on the NHL level, so it's definitely something you can dismiss.  In either case, the kid's rocking a 19-12-2 record with SEVEN shutouts. It's scary to think what he and Leclaire could've done as a one-two this season.

EDIT: Thanks to Pensburgh user Hooks Orpik for the heads up.  Expect former Islanders goaltender Wade Dubielewicz in net tonight for the Jackets.

As we've seen the Pens do these past few games, sitting back and waiting for the right shot is not how you want to head into this one.  The Pens would likely benefit best from traffic in front and rebound goals a la the likes of Matt Cooke and Luca Caputi chopping away in front of the cage.

Two more points on the line.  Gotta make it count.