Oh how important the first 10 minutes are. So many times this year, the Jackets have started off looking lethargic, unenthusiastic, and with very little energy. The Avs, on the other hand, certainly didn't. Just :21 seconds into the game, Chris Stewart took an outlet pass from Wojtek Wolski and Craig Anderson and beat Steve Mason with a backhand shot to make it 1-0.
It was all downhill from there.
Here's what Coach Hitchcock had to say after the game:
"I don't know how you can blame Mason for the goals," he said. "First shift of the game, you give up a breakaway after a glorious scoring opportunity. Second shift of the game, you get scored on. You hit the goal post, they get an odd man rush and score. It's our tentativeness. It's been going on all year, to be honest with you. This is a game of initiation. You can't play on your heels."
Now I think we can all agree that "playing on your heels" and being "tentative" is not how you go about winning hockey games. The part that irks me is Coach saying that Mason isn't to blame for at least something. Giving up two goals on two shifts is a big deal. I suppose it wasn't Mason's fault he got pulled less than 5 minutes in, eh Hitch?
The other problem of the night was penalties. How many times have we been on the bad end of a 5-on-3? Too many to want to think about it. A couple goals from Wolski and this 5-on-3 debacle made it 4-0 at this point. That was all they needed.
The second period went better, just not 4 goals better. A couple PP goals from Umby and Chimmer brought the team back but it wasn't enough. Milan Hejduk scored in the third to ice it.
Mancrush: RJ Umberger and Jason Chimera for keeping it interesting in the second.
Doghouse: The man with the big "C" on his chest. His name? Couldn't tell you after last night, he was NOWHERE to be seen or heard of. Seriously, Nasher needs to be taking over games and carrying the team if he has to. He certainly has the ability.
If that wins don't start coming, how long will it be before we start asking "Is the season over yet?"
Comments? Thoughts? Ideas for saving the season? Fire Away!