directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: From duds to studs!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

From duds to studs!

1-0 Nash
1-1 Bad guys
1-2 Bad guys
1-3 Bad guys

Game over right?

Enter 3rd period - perhaps the best period in CBJ history.....

2-3 Nash
3-3 Lindstrom
4-3 Zherdev
4-4 Bad guys
5-4 Fritsche


I'm shocked. No other way to put it. I've said this before in this space but even I find myself reverting back to the CBJ mindset of old where when we play two horrible periods and find ourselves down by two goals -- might as well put that final nail in the coffin - game over right? Not anymore. Not when you have leaderhip like Ken Hitchcock behind the bench, a GM who "gets it" and players that believe in that leadership.

In arguably the best period EVER of hockey by the CBJ, they managed to climb back out of the hole they dug for themselves and beat a team that has owned them in the overall series 2-22-2 to come out with a 5-4 victory that could perhaps be looked back on as the moment the CBJ turned the corner -- the moment they went from duds to studs.

That may sounds a little over dramatic to some of you folks out there reading this...but chances are if your reading this blog you've suffered through the 6 seasons (7 years including the lockout year) of horrible hockey here in central Ohio. If you've done that and taken in gawd knows how many ugly losses, many by this Avalanche team, then you know where I'm comin from.

Lit it up

I should just say "lit it up in the 3rd period" but I won't. Lots of candidates here. Lets start w/ Kris Beech. How good has this guy looked coming back from injury? He collected 3 assists tonight, was +2 , 2 shots, 1 hit and went 9 for 11 in the face off circle -- all that in just under 15 min played. Kid can flat out pass. Gonna be hard to sit him once the team gets healthy.

Rick and Nik show continue to shine. Nash with two goals and looked a lot more energized this game compared to last. Zherdev made some of the best defensive plays of the night... I can think of 3 times off the top of my head this guy backchecked and directly broke up plays and came away with pucks. That's not even counting the goal he scored off his toe drag that actually worked -- difference from last year? He's doing it in the right spots on the ice. Cool Z stat - he now has as many goals (10) after 27 games as he did all of last year.

Secondary scoring. Finally some goals and assists from someone not named Nash/Z. Beech with 3 assists as mentioned, Glencross with 2 helpers... Fritsche with a game winning goal and recent call up Joakim Lindstrom doing his part on the 2nd unit powerplay collecting his first goal of the year -- well done boys!

Hitchcock. Guy never gives up on a game. He knows what buttons to push when. He said in his post season presser that he had a heart to heart with this team after the 2nd -- which he typically doesn't do -- nice to see the team respond...and how bout his pull of Leclaire to spark the team? Very knock on Leclaire - he played excellent and was the victim of some bad play and officiating.

Hitting. When the Jackets hit and play "reckless" as Hitch says they are effective. When they try to get to cute with the puck they fail. Part of the first and all of the third the Jackets hit and its no coincidence that's when they scored. The Avalanche just had 5 hits that entire game. Jackets had 19. That's how you have to play that team - get physical.

Dim the light

We got the great win but what we can't overlook is how flat this team was in the 1st and 2nd periods...and how bad the PP continues to look. The Jackets can not afford to take periods off like that on this home stand. They got a little lucky tonight getting that win but Hitch can't give a pep talk every game to get them going - he needs to pick his spots. This team needs to play a much fuller 60 minutes if they want to build on this win.

Close to 13k in attendance. Still not great but a little better than I actually thought it would be given the snow storm. They were definitely loud in the 3rd. I predict a very good crowd this Saturday against the Wild.

Busted bulbs

Officiating. The non-call on Symth in front of the net was just unacceptable especially given the call they made on Dan Fritsche just minutes before that. The call on Fedorov at the end of the third was just as do you call that? No idea. Howson should be making a few calls to the league office tomorrow.

I was disappointed a bit in the team that they didn't get in the faces of players running our goalies. I'm not saying take a bad penalty but someone has to send a message.

Me for giving up on these guys after two terrible periods. Love it when the prove me wrong!

3 bright lights on the night

1. Kris Beech - 3 assists
2. Rick Nash - 2 goals
3. Ken Hitchcock - rallying the troops


I really can't underestimate how huge this win was. Instead of being 0-1-1 in this home stand as it was looking here we sit 1-0-1 going into a Saturday home game against a very good Wild team. The confidence this win should give this team is really indescribable. This win puts up tied with St. Louis in the 2nd and with Chicago losing right now 3-2 in the 3rd to Vancouver we are right in the thick of things.

Oh wanted to send a shout out to Geoff Platt.....he got called up by Anaheim today after lighting up the AHL after the Jackets traded him. Great for Platter!


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