directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Mason stands tall, steals one!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mason stands tall, steals one!

Remember back to last year a week or two before the trade deadline when a possible trade with Tampa loomed to bring center Brad Richards here? Remember the rumor was that Tampa wanted a goalie and had their eyes on Mason but Howson wouldn't part with him?

We now know why!

Look young players are hit and miss.... its the chance to hit and hit big that makes them difficult to trade because to get those star franchise type guys they typically come from within as teams don't part with those assets. Right now Mason is hitting big... I'm talkin jackpot.

Now I am as excited as anyone about Mason but I have to remind myself that this guy is still just 20 years old and only has 15 NHL starts under his belt.... its those reasons and more you can't even think of dealing a guy like Leclaire at this point.

When you get a goaltender playing like Mase though you have to ride him and ride him the Jackets did, right to a 2 point win over San Jose last night.


* This isn't a game without Mason. He stopped 47 of 48 shots some of the jaw-dropping variety. It was the most shots the Jackets have given up this season with the previous high being 37 (read that in the AP article).

* Jackets didn't let Mason's play go to waste and got some key goals from guys who have been in long droughts. First Peca off a couple of nice feeds from Nash and Voracek...and then Umberger off an absolutely beautiful world class pass from Huselius... We also can't forget the play Tyutin made up the ice to spring those two... There are some names in there that haven't showed up on the scoreboard lately that the Jackets desperately need to show up... and they did last night.

* Jackets got 2 points even though they were outplayed. Kind of nice for once eh? So many times the Jackets have been on the other end of games like these so its time the pucks finally start bouncing the Jackets way..

* Sharks score the first goal in the 3rd and the Jackets win? Yeah I'd say that qualifies as a green! Hell I'm going Incredible Hulk green on this one!!

* PK was fantastic against a stout Sharks PP killing all 5 minors against.. of course Mason was our best killer.

* Even though the Sharks carried the play most of the night the boys were physical getting credit for 44 hits... Commodore led the way with 6 hits... Peca (yes, that isn't a typo) and Boll each had 5...

* Anytime you can keep Big Joe off the score sheet its a good thing. In fact the Jackets held the NHL's most potent offense to just 1 goal... that's a great thing!!

* With the win the Jackets move to 3-3 in OT.

* I loved Manny Malhotra on the kill.

* I loved Kris Russell carrying that puck with confidence and jumping into the play with speed.

* I loved RJ Umberger's game winning goal celebration!

* I loved the fact that Jackets beat the NHL's best team and got Hitch a win on his b-day!

* I would have put Nash in the red but he did make a nice play in the 3rd that led to the tying goal. Other than that I thought he was mostly invisible out there besides taking a couple of penalties... both of which I thought were questionable calls to say the least. Even if he's not scoring we should notice him every night.

* Chimera and Murray injuries. Watching on the tube they showed Murray wincing as he was heading towards the bench.. that certainly didn't look good. Chimera will be a big loss the way he is playing. Heck when is the last time he missed a game? We should learn more about how long these two will be out today.

* We seemed to lose a lot of key offensive and defensive face offs last night.. those offensive draws can be costly, especially when you have pointmen like the Sharks have that can drop bombs on you. The Jackets escaped but need to do much better in the circle against those top teams.

* PP same ole story.

* Attendance as 13,800... although it seems to be slowly but surely ticking up in the right direction.

1. Sharks "Mased"! He was also named the NHL's first star of the night!!
2. Steaks broken.. and that's a good thing for Umberger and Peca who came up wtih big time goals.
3. Battle back from 1 goal down in the 3rd to beat the NHL's best team.
HM: PK killing all 5 Sharks PPs.

The win moves the Jackets back to .500 with a 14-14-3 record. They sit 12th in the West with 31 poitns. 1 point out of 8th and 4 points out of 15th. From 7 to 15th is separated by just 6 points.
The Jackets don't have a whole lot of time to enjoy this one as its off to Dallas for a game tonight at 8:30 EST.

Can the Jackets use this game as a springboard towards putting prolonged winning streak together? Can they get back to their winning ways on the road? Will they have the legs on a back end of a back2back? How will Leclaire perform?

All questions that will be answered tonight. I tell ya one thing though, you know its crossing Hitch's mind to go w/ Mason again tonight. Its certainly tempting but personally I would give the kid a night off and recharge and give a Leclaire a chance to make an impact for this one.




Rayth said...

Remember when Leclaire started off last year really hot and had numerous shutouts in the first couple of months (pretty much equal to what Mason is doing now)? Remember 2 years ago when Norrena had a better then .500 record?

Mason is 20 coming off of 2 knee surgeries with less then 20 starts.

I think he's the real deal, but I'm not going to get too up or down on his performance(s) until he's been doing this for a couple of years without constant trips to the IR.

We played a little worse then in SJ, they played better then SJ. Each goalie stole a game.


Sean said...

I don't want to get too crazy, but the next three games are all with teams that CBJ can and should beat if they want to make the playoffs. This is our big chance to go on a four-game streak leading into the Christmas freeze: Dallas, Phoenix then LA. If we can get these three and then take the days of R&R around Christmas and come back strong, we may be starting a surge at just the right time before our longest road trip of the season around New Year's.

Matt said...

Yes, the next 3 are huge. I see us winning all 3. Putting us 3 games over 500. Everyone will be up on their high horse. Then 6 out of the following 7 are on the road, against some good teams. I bet we go 2-5. Bringing us back to 500 again.


Ed said...

How's this for "green" from last night?

We need it again, tonight.

LTL said...

Rayth - my first point was about younger players and why its tough for GMs to part with them even with the unknowns involved.

As far as goaltending we are in complete agreement hence my Mason has only started 15 games point unless I'm missing a point your making?

Nice pic Ed! That's about as green as you can get!!


Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone noticed... but after the game was over.. the whole BJ team was celebrating in front of the Sharks bench... Shelley was the next to last guy off the ice, and he skated over next to the BJ guys.. looks like he said "nice job" or something like that. Class act that guy!
I was half expecting San Jose to look past us, with them taking on Detroit tonight.. but they didn't. Wonder how they'll do tonight. A lot of energy they have to get back to beat the Wings at home.

LTL said...

Love the nugget on Shelley Duff... hard not to love the way he carries himself on and off the ice. Puck-rakers had a nice story on him yesterday.. in case anyone missed be sure to head on over there and check it out.

That Sharks-Wings game should be a burner.. I'll have CI working OT tonight -- should be able to catch half of that one until the Jackets hit the tube -- and then there is always DVR!


JAL said...

I would disagree that we played worse than in San Jose. I think we played differently, partly because of the confidence we have found in Mason, who was largely an unknown in the prior meeting.

Last night, we put a good forecheck on in their zone, but then pretty much abandoned the neutral zone to get back and defend in our zone, and avoid the quick transition odd man rush. Don't know if that was a designed strategy, or just the way the game played out.

As a result we gave up a ton of shots from the point, but created lanes for Mason to see. There were times when SJ had us scrambling, but there were times when we had them scrambling, and Nabokov had to make several nice saves throught the game.

I think this was a more even battle than many are portraying. Clearly, San Jose is the superior team night in night out, but we match up as well against them as anyone, and it was great to see big effort rewarded with 2 points.

Kudos to the fans for sticking around to cheer for once, watch the 3 stars, and hear Mason get interviewed. I never understand the mad rush for the car. Just me I guess . . .

A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

Its funny you mention the mad rush part at the end of your post JAL. I wasn't able to get to the game live last night but had a buddy over for a couple of cold ones.

He's a relatively new hockey fan and just moved to Cbus from Dayton so has gotten to a lot more games live this year -- one of the points he said to me at the end is that in all of the stadiums he's visited he's never seen a place clear out as fast as the Nat.

Losses I can understand but man when we win, screw beating the traffic.... lets hang and root these boys on!!

Anyhow.. just found it funny that I hadn't heard that before last night and now two folks have said it... and its a great point.