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.
STOPLIGHT GAME REVIEW
* 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.
3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
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.