directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Jackets hit 80 points for first time, but fall to Chicago in shootout

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Jackets hit 80 points for first time, but fall to Chicago in shootout

4 goals typically means a guaranteed win for the Jackets. Not last night as they blew a 2 goal lead and then a 1 goal lead late in the 3rd period to the Chicago Blackhawks.

That loss makes 12 in OT/shootout. Where would this team be if they only had 6 of those wins? They certainly wouldn't be eliminated from the playoffs yet that's for sure.

Among many other things this team must find a way to collect more wins in the extra session this offseason. Whether it be acquiring a player who has a proven track record in the shootout, Leclaire/Norrena stopping more pucks or hell, I'll even take waiving some magic dust on sticks if it gets me 6 more wins.

Of course you could also say where would this team be if it won half the games from Nashville, was stronger during the home stretch in December, didn't lay an egg after the All Star Break, had a powerplay that was even average and wasn't the lowest scoring team in the league.

Lit it up

Two players really stood out to me last night. Rusty Klelsa who logged over 31 minutes of ice time and finished even on the night....and Andrew Murray who I thought had his best game as a Jackets....hustled every shift, had a goal an assist, was +1, and I can't remember him losing one battle out there..Mr. Reliable.

Secondary scoring. Murray, MacKenzie, Peca with goals... Russell and Brule with 2 assists. Different names on the score sheet.

Dim the light

That was Nik Zherdev's best game in a looong time. He controlled the puck well last night, skated hard and well how bout that goal? Nik cracked 60 points for the first time in his career with that tally.

PP got a goal and looked better, especially in the first period. It helps not having Hainsey out there to screw it up.

Franchise hits 80 points for first time in history. You can tell expectations have raised as this seems to be merely an afterthought. Could you imagine Doug MacLean's spin on this if he were still here?

Busted bulbs

The penalty kill was horrendous. It gave up 3 PP goals although the 5 on 3 goal they gave up was on the refs for a ridiculous call...and all Norrena for not making the big stop when needed.

Norrena. As a friend of mine says, guy is just good enough to lose with. Just hasn't made a lot of "game saving" stops and the win-loss record reflects. Still though, if you want a high pick, keep playing this guy.

Russell. Bad bad game from Russ. I know he was rusty but you can't fall down like that in the NHL. Something else that has really started to bother me about this kid, he just doesn't look like he skates with a lot of urgency. Its almost like he thinks he's back in junior and has all this time to make plays -- message to KR -- got to skate and move the puck quickly, the more time you give NHL players the more time they have to get in position and shut down your options.

OT/Shootout. 12th loss speaks for itself. The team is not 5-12 in the extra session. Not nearly good enough.

What was the deal with everyone falling last night. Hejda, Boll and Russell all lost edges last night. Do we need to acquire a better skate sharpener in the offseason as well?

..and of course we didn't score first which meant we had to find a way to lose the game.

3 bright lights on the night

1. Rusty Klesla - really stood up last night and played huge minutes
2. Andrew Murray - good all around game last night
3. Milestones - Z with 60 points...the Jackets hitting 80 points for first time in franchise history

So the dream of Stamkos lives on another night. The Jackets sit tied for 6th in the draft rankings with Phoenix. With only 3 games left there is still an outside chance that St. Louis could pass them by to push the Jackets into that 5th worst record thus giving them a shot to win the lottery to get Stamkos. Of course the Jackets will be just good enough not to get that chance and will probably end up with the 6th - 8th pick in the draft -- the key is to be in the top 7.

I think the Jackets have about 1 more win left in them and it will most likely come at home in the season finale against the Blues this Sunday.
For those keeping score the Jackets ended up going 4-3-1 against the 'hawks this season.


1 comment:

Rick said...

Lets' say we trade Norrena, make LaCosta #2 in goal and bring up all the Syracuse guys we played this year and make them permanent additions to the squad. Most definately spend the $$ to get a great center to work with Nasher. The "kids" really impressed me the latter half of this season. Anyway, just a thought. Keep up the great work with this blog!!!