directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Leclaire records 3rd shutout in 4 starts!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Leclaire records 3rd shutout in 4 starts!

Wow....what a game! The Jackets knocked off the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo tonight 3-0... Red super flaming hot CBJ goaltender Pascal Leclaire recorded his 3rd shutout in 4 starts to seal Columbus' first road win of the season and bring their record to 3-2-1.

Lit it up

No question here it was Pascal Leclaire. Dude stopped 21 shots in route to the 4th shutout of his career. You can bet the NHL is gonna start to take this kid seriously now. Not to deter anything from those shutouts but as Pascal will be the first to say, this whole team is working for the goaltender and playing shutdown defensive hockey - the only real quality opportunities are coming off the power plays for the opposition. Still though, 3 shutouts in 4 games is unprecedented no matter how well a team is playing defensively.

Rick Nash.....the "Monster Nash" has been just that this season - a freak show! #61 added another two points to his Halloween trick or treat bag for a total of 8 points thus far this season. To me this was his most impressive performance this season -- he was passing well, creating quality chances for himself and his teammates, drawing penalties (and penalty shots like the had one tonight) and quite frankly is just dominating like everyone knew he could do.

Michael Peca scored his first two points of his season and CBJ career tonight against his former team of 4 years. Believe it or not Peca is actually looking pretty good between Nash and Z -- kind of a calming influence who just makes smart plays. Peca missed just about all of camp so its taken him a few games to find his game but if tonight was any long term indiciation, he's finding them.

Team defense has been phenomenal. Hitch said after the game in his post game presser that its the way the team is controlling the center of the ice that is leading to these kinds of wins.... Mentioned Peca/Manny/Novotny/Feds and said they are experienced players who are making this possible. I would argue that its even broader than that with seemingly all forwards coming back hard to help out the defense and then all of them working for the goalie...

...and how about rookie Kris Russell tonight....? Have you ever seen a CBJ defender have a break-away before...well this kid did....and boy can this kid glide....he's gaining more confidence every game and Hitch knows it...hence his increasing ice time... Russell also collected another point tonight to give him 2a thus far on the season. His first goal isn't far away.

How nice was it to see Z get rewarded with an empty netter tonight? Even better was the fact that Hitch had him out there in the final minute while the game was on the line. I don't know how Hitch has done it but Z is finally starting to "get it" -- he's got 6 points in 6 games and is hands down playing the best complete hockey of his young career. I'd given up on this guy but at least early on, he is proving me dead wrong and I'm loving every second of it.

Honorable mention to Hitch. Even the coach got a little dinged up when he took a puck off the noggin that required some patching up but even hockey coaches stay in the game!

Dim the light

When you shutout a team like the Sabres on the road then just about the entire team is doing something right....and I think that's the case. Watching this game I really couldn't say that one player didn't do his job. That's a helluva sign that this team is comin together early and working for one another.

Special teams continue to be special. The PK was flawless again tonight and killed off a couple of early powerplays that if converted could have given Buffalo some early momentum - we can't underestimate what the PK has meant to this team early on. The PP is even finding some momentum and as Jackets potted another one in 5 attempts.

Busted Bulbs

The Buffalo Sabres fans continue to be the most classless of the entire NHL. For those that did make the Jackets / Sabres game last season here in Columbus then you know what I'm talking about -- you know the bus loads of Sabres fans who showed up all inebriated, booing kids in CBJ jerseys, being obnoxious, being arrogant - the bandwagon was all aboard. Well reading over on HFBoards from a CBJ fan who made the trip apparently a Sabres fan threw a full beer at him after the Jackets finished them off - another gleaming example of the class shown by factions of that fan base.

I'm not typically one to rub victories in opposing team's faces but let me be the first to say "scoreboard" to those arrogant, haughty, egotistical clowns that call themselves Sabres fans. You got what was coming to you - again.

On a final note for bout a big shout out to Mike and Natalie of the RBar for representing CBJ nation at the Sabres game -- nice job! They were also accompanied by the new president of the JacketBackers (which is the official booster club of the Jackets) and her husband. If your interested in signing up just go to their site at this link.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but other than the Avalanche game this team has played damned good hockey. What I'm most pleased with is their ability to bounce back off of losses and have strong performances. Hitch has these guys buying in and quite frankly I think we are all in for a helluva a ride this season!

Next up is the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday at 5 p.m. Vancouver is off to a miserable start this year posting a 3-5 record. Star goaltender Roberto Luongo has struggled and they lost again tonight to the Los Angelas Kings -- the road doesn't get any easier and the Jackets will need to quickly put this win behind them, like they do with losses, and start focusing on their next game.


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