Sometimes 3-2 losses don't taste too bad. When we compete at a high level against the best teams in the league, I'll never be disappointed. The Jackets fell in a shootout to the Sharks (who have won both of our encounters this year), but the overall play left me feeling content. I thought we played a complete, well rounded game. The only glitch in the game was the beginning of play in the third that I thought was carried by the Sharks, but we finished strong down the stretch
The play of the Nash - Vermette - Umberger line was solid tonight. All night they were matched against the Thornton line and played well. It almost seemed as if these lines duked it out. One shift went to the Sharks, the next to the Jackets. Vermette and Nash continue to be strong 5 on 5. I'd love to see this pair stick for a while. This takes the pressure off of Brassard and allow him to solidify a 2nd line. The creativity and chemistry of Nash and Vermette has been a sight.
1 for 1 on the powerplay tonight. It might have been the best powerplay in Blue Jackets history. The Cannon has to do a major cap nod to Rob Blake. Dude was jacked up in the corner and he drug himself to the front of the net. He had to play out about another 45 seconds of our powerplay that ended up in their net off the stick of Nash. A lesser man would have stayed crumpled in the corner and waited for a whistle. The puck movement may have been highlighted by the fact it was basically a 5 on 3, but I'll take it. Wish we could have drawn more penalties tonight.
Lets just say Jared Boll was visible tonight. I still don't think he is an NHL player, but he was game tonight. 2 fights, one drawn penalty, and one missed check into our bench. He got the crowd jazzed. I'm not sure what took the refs on the second fight so long to break it up. Boller could barely get his gloves off and balance. The incident led to our goal.
Derek Dorsett filled in at center tonight after Blunden's injury and didn't look out of place. The guy is a glue guy. He, Filatov, and Torres played a pretty decent game.
Voracek continues his strong, beastly play. He was more physical tonight than I can remember seeing. That's good news. I'd love to see him add that element to his game. It is the missing piece right now.
Tyutin and Stralman have consistently been a strong pair for us this year. Tyutin's slap-pass to Chimera got us on the board tonight. Offense from the backend is a must. This may be the best offensive pair the Jackets have ever put together. Neither guy will kill you in their own zone and they can get pucks through.
A major welcome back to Jan Hejda. Notice we didn't allow 5 goal tonight. That's the Hejda effect. He was positionally strong as always and he didn't look out of shape. Right where he left off.
Steve Mason continues a mini roll. He has eliminated the softies recently. It does wonders for his and the team's confidence. Now he needs to start stealing a couple games for us.
Mancrush of the Night goes to Jan Hejda. Welcome back 8. He got the loudest pop in the opening lineup (including Nash). Maybe Columbus hockey fans are really starting to catch on. Maybe we'll see a couple of Hejda #8 jerseys... umm probably not (he doesn't score goals!!!!OMG!!)
Whipping Boy takes a pass tonight. I thought we played a pretty solid game. I thought it was officiated pretty well. Sometimes it just doesn't pan out.
I took a friend who I introduced to true Blue Jackets hockey during Game 4 last year with an extra ticket. He has become a Jacket addict and like any good crack dealer I gave him another hit tonight. He's learning and loving it. So lesson #1 Jackets Fan, adopt a friend... give them crack... oh wait, no give them Blue Jackets hockey.