directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets blow 3rd period lead, fall to Wild

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jackets blow 3rd period lead, fall to Wild

The Columbus Blue Jackets carried a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period in Minnesota last night only to fall to the Wild 3-2.

Last year the Jackets lost only one game when carrying a lead into the 3rd. Minnesota also had the 2nd best road record in the league last year.

The Jackets got on the board first in the first period off a very pretty pass from Nikolai Zherdev to a pinching Ron Hainsey. Hainsey wasted no time unleashing a wicked one timer past Wild goaltender Niklaus Backstrom. Jason Chimera also notched an assist. The Wild countered off a Jackets turnover and a subsequent Pierre-Marc Bouchard breakaway that beat Fredrik Norrena.

The 2nd period saw the only goal come from a captain Adam Foote short handed goal off a seeing eye slap shot just inside the Wild blueline that caught Backstrom flat footed. Nikolai Zherdev collected his 2nd assist of the evening while Jiri Novotny collected his first point ever as a Blue Jacket.

In the 3rd, the Wild again capitalized off another Jacket turnover that saw Eric Belanger split the Columbus defense and beat Fredrik Norrena 5 hole. Less than 5 minutes later Brent Burns scored the game winner off a one timer from the point.

Fredrik Norrena stopped 28 of 31 shots.

Lit it up
Nikolai Zherdev continues his strong early performance. Its not a stretch to say he's been the Jackets best all around forward through the first two games of the year. He's doing everything right and most importantly he seems to have found some trust in his teammates as he's using them much more often and getting away from his individual game. If Z keeps this up, he could be in for a very strong season.

Ron Hainsey (pictured upper right) has two goals in two games. I'm personally not the biggest fan of #6 but through the first two games he's done an excellent job of reading the play and jumping up for scoring chances. Both of his goals have been scored in this fashion. He still needs to do a much better job at the transition game but he has played well.

Sergei Fedorov. This guy has also been playing fantastic hockey. We've seen flashes of the Sergei of old in the first two games. He's passing and creating the best I've seen since he's joined the Jackets. He, like Zherdev, could be in for a big season if he continues this high level of play.

Adam Foote is another guy who is playing well. He logged 21.42 in ice time last night and for missing the entire preseason has looked just fine out there. Hitch is playing Foote to his strength's using him strictly in even strength and PK situations and its paying off early. It was also nice to see Footer get that shorty last night.

Penalty killing and Jiri Novotny. PK continues to be strong. The Jackets killed off all 5 man advantages they faced last night. Jiri Novotny has been a key a addition in the area and for me anyways, has looked great for the role we brought him in to play. He reminds me of Svitov without the fighting ability.

Powerplay. The PP went 1 for 1 last night. Its off to a good start going 4 for 8 over two games.

Dim the light
I thought Gilbert Brule and Dan Fritsche continued to play well. They haven't shown up on the score sheet yet but they will. I would actually like to see these two get more minutes but the minutes they have been playing have been quality.

Rick Nash was held off the score sheet last night but I actually noticed him more last night than I did opening night. Funny how those things work. I thought he generated some good chances. Unfortunately for our team we only had one powerplay all night.

Freddy Norrena played pretty good last night even though he didn't get the win. He stopped 28 of 31 shots and the goals that did beat him were two breakaways and a wicked one timer.

Offense. I'm glad to see defensemen getting goals but we needed more from the offense last night and didn't get it.

Busted bulbs
Jason Chimera and David Vyborny were no where to be found last night. Some times the pucks just don't bounce for you and that seemed like the case for these two. Need these two to show up every night.

Young defensemen breakdowns. OK Tollefsen, Duvie Westcott and Kris Russell had tough nights last nights. Russell had a couple of turnovers that lead to odd man rushes and Duvie and Tollefsen got caught flat footed a couple of times. Although I'm still scratching my head how Duvie gets called for a clean hit on Marion Gabrik at the end of the 3rd -- apparently for that moment hitting was no longer aloud in this game. Duvie can give you that though, he's a strong skater and more often that not if your gonna try to beat him wide he's gonna make you pay. He pinched off one of the best skaters in the league in Gaborik on that play.

Points. In a game like this on the road and taking a lead into the 3rd period this team must come out of this with at least a point.

In-your-face. Not enough checking from this team last night. Part of that was due to Minnesota's play as they outhit us 18 to 11. We need to bring that physical brand of hockey with us on the road and we need everyone to continue to buy in.

Overall this team played a pretty strong road game. Sure we blew a lead in the 3rd and sure we had some breakdowns but this team kept battling and played strong systematic hockey. Last year at this time we went to Minnesota for our 4th game of the year and got absolutely blown out of their barn 5-0. Last night this team competed and made a game of it -- which is a large step forward compared to a year ago.

Still plenty of areas to improve on but remember its only one game, lets see how they respond when Phoenix comes to town on Wednesday.


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