directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: The price is right...for Leclaire!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The price is right...for Leclaire!

Montrea's prized rookie goaltender Carey Price struggled a bit last night... Pascal Leclaire....well he stole Bob Gainey's show with his 10th career shutout and 9th of the season.

Leclaire is back on his game. The Jackets were outplayed most of the night but Leclaire was there. He stopped 31 shots and flashed that form that has made him so darn good this season....all that in front of his hometown team and lots of friends of family.

So although the Canadiens honored a legend on Bob Gainey, it was Leclaire's night once business started.

Lit it up

Team defense. After the ASG the Jackets biggest issue (well besides scoring but that's been there all year) is that they had gotten away from their tight checking everyone works for the goaltender team defense. The past two games for whatever reason they've regained that form and in the process knocked off two the East's best teams in Ottawa and Montreal.

Pascal Leclaire. What else can you say abou this guy? He struggled along with the team in that stretch after the ASG but has been lights out over the past two regaining that All-Star (yeah, the NHL offices and still eat for that snub) form he's had most of the year. Probably the most impressive part of last night's performance was his play over the first 10 minutes when he helped kill an early PP and take away the Canadiens momentum.

Nash. Scored his 33rd goal. He's scored 5 over his last 7. His job on the PK has been such an asset this season. Good on Nash for comin alive to keep this team in the hunt which has been a criticism of mine some this season and he's now answering the bell scoring key goals for a team desperate for offense.

Manny Malhotra. Not a big fan of this guy but he made two big plays last night. The first his assist on Andrew Murray's goal and then he finally decide to drive to the net and then wuduyou know -- he scored the "nail in the coffin" goal. His first in 27 games - ouch. Still hope Howson deals him.

Secondary...hell, 3rd level scoring steps up. Murray and Malhotra with big goals. The team needed somebody other than the usual suspects to step up and burry some and they got it last night.

PK. Also got back on track in a BIG WAY. Killed off 8 minor penalties against the #1 PP unit in the league -- including an extended 5 on 3. That was absolutely H-U-G-E!

Bob Gainey. A great career and the Canadiens put on a helluva show for him last night. Congrats on story book career and well deserved honor.

21 thousand in the Bell Centre. Got to love the passion of that original 6 fan base, they do love their hockey. Maybe one day we can get half of that passion in Columbus but it will take some time (the playoffs certainly wouldn't help either).

Dim the light

Zherdev came out like gangbusters but seem to fade, especially after that hard hit he received later in the first. I did find out this morning from a friend that Z was playing under the weather last night so I'll cut him some slack. Still he drew some penalties, played over 17 minutes and created offense.

Jared Boll. Another game, another fight. That makes 22 now and leads the NHL in that category. He had some prime scoring chances and major hits as well. I love this kid and this team is completely different without him in the lineup!

Busted bulbs

Vyborny with only 6 minutes last night. That was perhaps his final game in a CBJ sweater. He just doesn't have the game to fit into a Hitchcock system.

Rimer. Sounded a bit under the weather himself last night on the calls. Very subdued on his goal calls.

Michael Peca. Nice dish to Nash on the first goal but some real boneheaded penalties -- especially the grab on Kovalev to give the Canadiens that 5 on 3. Got to be smarter than that - that could have really changed momentum.
The Jackets as a whole took waaaay to many penalties. They are lucky their PK showed up last night..real lucky.

Fedorov with a charley horse (did some guy name Charley's horse get hurt or somethin to come up with that name.. I digress). The good news is that its day-to-day so it shouldn't hurt his trade value.

3 bright lights on the night

1. Pascal Leclaire - can't say enough about this guy's performance last night
2. Rick Nash - continues to lead an anemic offense with his 33rd on the year -- still dreaming of what this guy could do with Richards
3. Bob Gainey - an NHL legend honored

A big win last night but will it be enough to deter Scott Howson from breaking up this team? The Jackets are still 5 poitns out of the final playoff spot with 2 more games played than most of the teams ahead and behind them.

In short, I think he's still got to do what's best for this team long term while not completely depleting this team's chances at making a late push. I think the only player he may look to retain now is Adam Foote that two games ago he was probably going to offload. Hard to deal your captain and still convince your team to play hard for the post season.

3-2 on this 5 game road trip. Hard to look at that and say it was anything other than a success when you take into account the Jackets historically really struggle on the road. I'm definitely proud of the way these guys battled the past two games.

Next up is the trade deadline. Howson is certainly on the hot seat. We now will just sit back and see what happens. I'll have more later on my predictions taking everything into account such as standings, games played, pending UFAs, etc.


1 comment:

Bethany said...

What a game!!! It was beautiful!! Sigh...that was it! YAY!!