Regardless, the Canucks are a tough team to handle on any given night. They score a bunch of goals (188; 3.14/g) and don't let the opposition score too often (143/2.39). They have the fourth best goals differential in the league (+45). The Jackets clearly don't get any kind of a break after tackling the Sharks on Wednesday. However, the CBJ seem to be brimming with confidence -- the next big test will be seeing how they handle some adversity and the Canucks certainly have the roster to add some of that to the mix.
Second Line: Make the twins see triple. Just as it was the case with San Jose, the Jackets have to lock down the top line with the Sedins and Burrows. That line is a combined +76 and accounts for more than a third of the team's goals. It's likely to assume that Pahlsson and company will be assigned the task of harassing the top line again and that will require a full commitment from each forward. The Jackets did a really good job of limiting quality chances for the Sharks on Wednesday, much of which was due to solid backchecking. The Sedins have to get some aggressive checking, or they will carve up the Jackets again.
Third Line: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It's pretty clear that the Jackets are figuring out a formula for success and it's not too complex. They have to continue playing aggressively and rolling four lines with some "jump." The transition game has been much faster and effective, and that's due in large part to improved play in the center of the ice and responsible passes out of the defensive zone. A steady diet of hitting helps quite a bit as well -- I'd like to see Umberger ensure that Kesler shows up for the Olympics with some eye paint. Despite taking two penalties, I hope that Boll continues to punish on the forecheck as well.
Fourth Line: Keep Mason-wide Rocking. This one is for the fans. I will be in attendance with Top Shelf this evening, and we'll do our best to keep up the energy. Mason clearly takes inspiration from the crowd and the fans have to do their part to make Nationwide a hostile environment. The CBJ won't win tonight if Mason doesn't continue to stand on his head. I continue to believe that the playoffs are nearly impossible to make, but if the Jackets are going to keep things interesting, the home crowd must be more of a factor down the stretch. Vancouver is tired and they've just played in southern Florida the last few nights -- so they'll be dragging from the schedule and the shocking change in climate.