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Morning Skate: First of two for the weekend

The Red Wings and the Blue Jackets kick off a home-and-home series tonight in Columbus and will look to shake off that ugly 5-4 loss to the Avalanche on Monday. Hopefully, the days of rest will do the Wings well as Valtteri Filppula has had some groin issues of late and Henrik Zetterberg's back has been bothering him.

The Blue Jackets have lost 5 straight games and have averaged 4.8 goals against per game in that streak. In fact, the Blue Jackets were 14-6 leading up to the first meeting with the Wings this year and have completely fallen apart since, going 6-14-3.

The Cannon is your SB Nation Blue Jackets site.

More after the jump and the prediction form.

  • Jimmy Howard will start tonight in net and had a very forgettable performance against the Avalanche. With Osgood out for 6-8 weeks and Joey MacDonald on the pine in place of Osgood, Howard really needs to step up and channel Vancouver 1 goal allowed version, not four in the first period.
  • Mike Commodore, a Columbus defenseman and afro enthusiast, was recently sent down to the club's AHL affiliate in Springfield. Commodore had apparently asked for a trade and wasn't getting along with the organization well recently and it's turned into a mess.
  • You know who was called up to fill his spot? Grant Clitsome. Insert your own joke.
  • As usual, Rick Nash is leading this Blue Jackets team in scoring with 20 goals and 15 assists. R.J. Umberger is second in goals with 14 followed by a trio of players with 9. Insert standard "if only Nash had a good supporting cast" remark here. I feel for Rick...just not too much since he's in our division.
  • Tonight, I hope that there's a fight between Rostislav Klesla and Ruslan Salei. I would deem it "Rusty Bowl" and charge for it on PPV.
  • Bad pun based on how you pronounce his name: There's a (Mark) Methot to their madness.
  • You know who the happiest man in the world is that Brad Stuart is out with injury? RJ Umberger.
  • I don't have too much for this preview, I've been up all night (it's 3:45 AM) working away on some H2H2 stuff and packing for going to Saturday's game in Detroit. My apologies.
  • Score Prediction: 3-1 Detroit.
  • Player of the Game Prediction: Valtteri Filppula. Why? Because I have as much luck actually thinking with who could do well as I do just running a formula in Excel. 
  • Around the League: The Bruins outscored the Flyers 7-5, the Maple Leafs got spanked by the Coyotes 5-1, the Rangers blanked the Canucks 1-0, and the Panthers ended the Predators' win streak.