directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets blow late lead, lose 3-2 in shootout

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jackets blow late lead, lose 3-2 in shootout

The Columbus Blue Jackets' youthful lineup was exposed last night when the Jackets failed to hold a late 1 goal lead and gave up the game tying goal to the Dallas Stars with 1:11 to go. Jussi Jokinen was the only player to score in the subsequent shootout which allowed the Stars to walk out of Nationwide Arena with 2 points.

The Jackets absolutely dominated the Stars in the first two periods 28-14. Only Rick Nash was able to score for the Jackets off a two on none rush with Nikolai Zherdev setting him up very early in the 1st period. Unfortunately just over a minute later the Stars were able to convert on one of their only quality chances to tie the score up 1-1 when Jusi Jokinen was able to put home a nice cross ice feed from Stu Barnes.

The score stayed locked at 1 a piece into the 3rd period when Jiri Nototny scored his first goal of the season and 1st ever as a Blue Jacket when he was able to nudge a deflected puck just over the goal line. Rick Nash collected his 1st assist and 2nd point of the night while Nikolai Zherdev collected his 2nd assist and 5th point in 5 games.

The Jackets held the lead until 1:11 remaining after the Stars pulled their goaltender and were able to tie it up off a Brendan Morrow 1 timer in the slot from Mike Ribero.

Unfortunately for the Jackets they were unable to convert on any of their 3 chances in the SO and let that 2nd point slip away from them to fall to a record of 2-2-1.

Lit it up

The Rick and Nik show seems to have returned to the Nationwide Arena this year - at least for now. Rick Nash collected a goal and assist while playing with a strained groin while Nikolai Zherdev continued to play arguably the best hockey of his young career and collected two more assists. Both forwards made an impact off the puck as well killing penalties and especially in Z's case, playing excellent 2-way hockey. I've never seen Z back check as hard as he did last night - the kid may be finally "getting it".

Penalty kill continues to be strong as they killed off 3 Stars powerplays. The CBJ PK is ranked 2nd in the NHL killing at 92.6%.

Dim the light

This team as a whole was much better last night than in Colorado and quite frankly deserved a better fate. They dominated the first two periods and their energy and jump were much more apparent.

Even though they didn't show up on the score sheet the line of Chimera-Malhotra-Boll continues to be an extremely effective line for the CBJ and outside of Nash/Zherdev produced the most quality chances for the CBJ. I hope this line stays as is......and how about Boll taking on a man much bigger and physically mature than he in Brad Winchester -- Boll held his own and then some against him -- this kid is a gamer.

Fredrik Norrena played a pretty good game. He stopped 28 of 30 shots although I'm sure he'd like another shot at the Morrow goal when the game was on the line. Not only that, but in the Dispatch today he mentions that he was ready for the Jokinen shootout attempt and was the most surprised person in the building when that puck got under his pad. Still Norrena made some very good saves, especially in the 3rd, and its hard to fault him on the two that got past him.

Rusty Klelsa was the best defender on the ice logging a team high 27 minutes and finishing with an even +/-, shots, 1 hit, 1 takeaway. Rusty probably won't ever become that superstar two-way defensemen we all hoped he would become when he was the Jackets first ever draft pick (4th overall) but he does appear to be coming into his own as a solid defending defensemen who if given a look can absolutely launch pucks from the point.

Powerplay came through for the first time in 12 attempts when Jiri Novotny put home his first tally of the season. The PP started off hot but has cooled off of late so it was a positive to see this team convert on a chance and hopefully its a springboard towards more PP success against Buffalo on Friday night.

I really thought Curtis Glencross played a solid game last night in his season debut for the Jackets. So much that I think he should dress again for Buffalo on Friday. He missed on some prime scoring opportunities but he skated well, hit and made some smart plays. I really liked this guy.

The cannon at Nationwide is finding its rhythm with the goal song. It had perfect timing on the first goal but was slightly off for the second one. My biggest question though is where was the game opening cannon boom?

Busted Bulbs

David Vyborny where have you gone? #9 continues to struggle to find his game and remains pointless since opening night. He logged 20 mins of ice time, was a -1 with 4 shots on goals. This is a contract year for Vyborny and perhaps the pressure is getting to him. He and this team need a big breakout game. It is good to see him shooting more though.

Dan Fritsche and Gilbert Brule continue to have disappointing starts to their seasons. So far no points for either of these two players. Brule had some 1st unit powerplay time in an attempt to get him kick started offensively and has played well thus far but just can't seem to find his name on the score sheet. He was a -1 last night with only 7+ minutes played. Fritsche logged 9+ minutes and was also a -1. This is the worst I've seen #49 look since he turned pro. Both of these guys needs a goal in the worst way to get some confidence back in their games. Both will continue to draw small minutes until they start producing.

Our offense has to score more when given the opportunities. The Stars were pressing hard in the 3rd to get back in this game and in the process were allowing odd man rushes. Good teams put teams away when presented with those opportunities. Good teams also don't squander a 1 goal leading with just over a minute remaining the game. This team played well last night but needs to learn how to close out games.

Attendance was at an all time low last night at a few hundred below 12k. As a fan who has gone to many games over the years and has seen previous sized crowds announced at a much higher attendance all I can ask is has attendance reporting changed under the new regime? Were the numbers fudged or over-sold like many other things including playoff predictions under the Doug MacLean administration?

The biggest positive of last night is that this team bounced back strongly from an embarrassing loss in Colorado. The showed me that this is not a "Jackets team of old" -- a "Jackets team of old" would have still been impacted by that loss in Colorado and allowed that loss to creep into their play last night and before we know it - its another blowout loss that snowballs into a extended losing streak.

The Jackets still ultimately lost last night and the danger of an extended losing streak is still there but this is twice now that I've seen this team bounce immediately back with strong competitive efforts after losses. Their record may not show it - yet - but this isn't your "Jackets of old".


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