directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Payback

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Jackets past 4 games have been shutouts. 2 straight shutout losses...then two straight shutout wins. Strange game eh?

One of those losses of course came against the LA Kings at home on Dec 23rd -- which to me was their worst played game of the season. The Jackets had failed to score in the two games they met the Kings so far this season.

Last night the Jackets were able to turn the tables on the Kings....on the road no less. They played textbook defense, Mason was a tower of power again in nets, they were strong in the neutral zone, were physical in all 3 zones and got that key first goal which was on the PP no less to propel them to a 2-0 win.


* Jackets came out flat again but Mason held the fort early and then gradually they got better and better. That was a key b/c in both defeats against this Kings team they got up early and never looked back.

* PK was fantastic with their best killer being their tender.

* How good were the Jackets tonight defensively? They were rock solid in the neutral zone.. they kept just about everything wide... cleared bodies and rebounds in front nets.. payed the price physically... that is the way they are going to have to play every night to win...

* Mason was rock solid again. I think this shutout was his easiest though due to the way the team played defensively.

* Kings announcers were very good. They do a superb job analyzing and explaining their plays. Although could they try any harder to jinx Mase by saying "Shutout" anymore times? Don't blame em though.

* Somebody put some Wheaties in Huselius's cereal bowl... he was flying all over the ice the with puck...unfortunately he wasn't able to get on the board.

* Hejda really played the body well... it was a hard hitting game by both squads all the way around.

* Klesla using his face to break up a very good King's scoring chance.. that was sacrifice and a fantastic play by 97 when the score was 0-0. Overall I thought he played a really hard nosed game which is his niche.

* Fantastic energy from Boll...he really came to play and I'm glad he didn't drop them against Ivanans.. would have really liked to see him grab that one at the end there off that feed from Peca.

* Got a key PP goal... like both Nash and Russell a lot on the PP tonight... Tyutin struggled.

* Big time hustle from Nash to get that all important empty netter to seal this one...he had a really strong game.

* Manny won some big face off wins.. especially in the defensive zone in the 3rd.

* Tough game for Russell early... couldn't connect on passes... falling down..but he made up for it with a nice pinch on the PP to collect his second goal of the year... sweet pass by Nasher as well.

* Backman hit sighting... yes, he made a hit...he took a hit and got pucks through. Decent game.

* Walking that thin line offensively... they got by tonight with that 1 PP goal and the empty netter but they are going to need to produce more than 1 goal to get on a run here.

* Untimely penalties by the veterans out there... Peca should know better and Commodore has got to be smarter than taking a needless delay of game penalty with a second or two remaining in the period.

* Everytime I watch Kopitar I think oooohhhh...what if! This is certainly not a red but that Drew Doughty is going to be somethin special as well.

1. Solid team effort especially defensively.
2. Special teams were special. PP got a key goal and the PK was flawless.
3. Mason with his 4th shutout. This guy is single handily keep the Jackets alive.

This win was big in many ways. They finally got 2 points on the road after losing their past 7...and against a conference rival that is also fighting for those final playoff spots. With this being the start of their longest road trip of the season it was critical for them to get off to a good start which they accomplished by playing the kind of game they must play to win -- strong defensive hockey with flawless goaltending and special teams that make an impact.

Unless Howson brings in some major pieces to fill the holes this is the kind of game the Jackets must play to stay in this thing. Its ain't pretty but if it translates into points then give me ugly.

The problem is that its such a fine line and as great as Mase has been you can't keep expecting this guy to play shutout hockey...he's going to need some more goal support.

Now they find themselves back at .500 sitting 12th in the West 3 points out of 8th while 5 points out of 15th. We've seen this before -- lose two win two. At some point they have to break out of this pattern if they want to break through to the playoffs.

They'll try to make it 3 in a row at the pond in Anaheim. A place the Jackets have not found much success including a 5-3 defeat this season. In fact they are 0-2 versus this team this season. More payback in store? We'll find out tomorrow night.

Great key win. Time to focus on Anaheim, grabbing 2 more big conference points and making it 3 in a row.



tom said...

We made the trip out here and I thought I'd chime in with on site observations...

1. Their crowd is mellow. They reported a sell out of over 18K in the stands...seemed more like 13K to me.

2. There is not a hockey bar in Los Angeles. The Garage Bar should seriously consider this town for their next expansion.

3. I stood at the glass during warm ups. Nash repeatedly peppered my Nash jersey with pucks in appreciation. It was kinda cool. Boller also flipped a puck over the glass to a 6 year old that held up a sign "Boll you are my hero".

4. Be sure to frequent the Fox Sports Pub during the intermissions. They reverse scan your ticket so that you can leave the arena. Pour strong and cheaper drinks in carry out cups. Then scan your ticket to let you back into the adjoined arena. Too smooth. Say hi to Jeff the bartender...he's an OSU grad from Dayton and a heavy pourer. :)

5. CBJ looked like they out hustled the Kings most of the night. Mason looked AMAZINGLY calm and comfortable. He never scrambled. I'm thinking that he's going to make a strong push for this team.

6. LA Times reported Nash's pass to Russell as a shot and "gift wrapped rebound" and that is crap. Russell pinched into the open post and Nasher put it on his tape. Kris made a couple of pokes at it and Manny was on the doorstep just in case. It was HUGE. It felt great to hear my screams of elation echo off the glass to the silent crowd. Classic!

7. We'll be at the Pond tomorrow looking to extend the winning streak!

Happy New Year Garage Bar!
Go Jackets!

Rick said...

"Beauty is only skin deep...but Ugly goes all the way to the bone"

I'll take an ugly win any day of the week.

JAL said...

Being native to Northern California, I can vouch for the absence of hockey bars at either end of the state, though if one were to emerge it would be far more likely in SJ than in LA.

Some wins need to be ugly and this was one of them. The difference here was that both teams played well, and good plays were foiled by good defense and good goaltending. It was a hard checking, tooth grinding, Norris Division game.

Need to control Getzlaff tomorrow and get pucks on net early.