Sorry for the delay in my review of last night's game... let's just say it was a looong night on Saturday.
In typical Jackets/Wild fashion there wasn't a whole lot of scoring but there certainly was a whole lot of strong defensive play and waiting to see who blinks first.
In the end it was the Jackets who prevailed off of goals by RJ Umberger and newly extended Rusty Kelsla that propelled the Jackets to their first win of the season.
Jackets 2 Wild 1
* It wasn't the most exciting game with a lot of back/forth but hey, two points is two points. With 3 tough roadies up next this was a must have and the Jackets found a way to have it.
* The RJ Umberger shorty was huge... his move to score was sweet but that play doesn't happen without Andrew Murray and Marc Methot's strong play on the boards that eventually led to springing RJ for a the opportunity.
* Sign a new contract -- score a game winning goal. Perhaps Howson should dish these out more often right before games? Seriously though Klesla was an absolutely rock... he looks like he's taking off right where he left off in the playoffs. Was great to see him hit the net and score that key goal. Good for him.
* Something big I personally took away from this game was how many players on this team have the potential to play the hero on any given night this season. The team is deep with difference makers and we are going to see a lot of different heroes throughout the season. That's gotta make a guy like Rick Nash feel pretty good that he doesn't have to do it all every night.
* Speaking of Nash.. I know he didn't get on the score sheet but that defensive play he made behind the net with seconds left to go was tremendous and really shows how far he's come as a 2 way force. That play was as good as a goal in my book... maybe even better.
* ..who doesn't like magnet night? ..and who else collects these things from every season? I know I'm not the only one. A nice touch this year was the Donatos coupons.
* Mase turned away 32 of the 33 shots he faced. He was good... so was Backstrom for the Wild. My only minor beef with Mase is his rebound control doesn't look as sharp yet as last season but that should improve.
* Umberger-Pahlsson-Chimera line was surprisingly solid all night.
* R Bar was absolutely packed and the adult pops were flowing... and a big green light for the new picture they just had framed. It's one that I hold very close to my heart.
* Sold out Nationwide Arena. What is even more impressive about this sell out was that it came on a night Ohio State football played (even if it was away) and there was a home Crew game. I had my doubts but thrilled to see Jackets fans representin!
* I don't recall a lot of replays but then again I wasn't the sharpest knife in the stands on this night (damn you stingers!).
* That Pahlsson interference calls could have went either way. The bottom line though is the Jackets found a way to kill it off at a key moment of the game. That's the sign of a good squad.
* The Filatov-Vermette-Voracek line had it's moments... imagine if that shot Filatov rang off the post went in? Don't worry about Hitch sitting him in the 3rd -- remember he did the same to Brassard and Voracek early last season. This kid is going to be fine.
* Ditto for the Huselius-Brass-Nash line... certainly some kinks to work out and Juice definitely doesn't look up to speed but once these 3 click -- look out NHL. Nash was oooh so close to a goal in front of that cage.
* Not a bad 14 minutes of play from Mathieu Roy. He didn't look out of place at all.
* Surprised there was no fisticuffs between these two. There were plenty of hits and aggressive physical play though. Teams were gettin after it.
* Hejda was his normal "black hole" self. Most eyebrow raising stat of the night - he led all Jackets with 5 shots. Not so eyebrow raising - he finished a +1.
* So far I'm 0 for 2 in my bold predictions. Not only was the game a sellout but it's obvious now that Rusty isn't goin anywhere at the deadline. Sometimes it's great to be wrong!
* New entrance song by the Hives "Tick Tick Boom" blew. Who picks this stuff?
* I don't remember any quality chances coming from the PP -- especially on that 4 min PP. It's time like those the Jackets have to make other team's pay. If you recall the Wild got back into this game with their PP score in the 3rd.
3 BRIGHT LIGHTS ON THE NIGHT
1. Klesla game winner
2. Umberger and PK unit come up big with shorthanded tally
3. Sold out Nat!!
Jackets are back at it tonight with a huge challenge against the 0-2 Vancouver Canucks. I'll have a gamebox a little later.