Game 34 Recap: Trapped and Broken

Kirk Irwin

As the Jackets looked to pull themselves back to .500 before hitting a stretch of divisional games, it seems that they looked a bit past the Winnipeg Jets, but a nasty combination of injuries and the officials didn't do them many favors.

I have been told, repeatedly, that I have to watch my language when recapping games like this, so I'll do my best to hold to that.

As the Jackets came off the frustrating OT loss to the St. Louis Blues, they hosted another Western Conference team in the Winnipeg Jets, who were themselves trying to get back off the mat after a painful 6-4 loss to the Stars over the weekend.

From the start, the Jackets seemed to be getting outmaneuvered by the Jets, but the real problem was on their own bench. After his first shift of the game, Jackets D-man Dalton Prout left the bench, and the team would announce later in the period that he would not return.

Matt Calvert attempted to get some energy going by engaging with Jacob Trouba, dropping the gloves in a fairly split bout, and just a few minutes later Nick Foligno would fire up the bench and the crowd by demolishing Adam Pardy.

Unfortunately, the good news stopped there in the first period. Not long after the Foligno tilt, Derek MacKenzie would spill awkwardly into the boards behind his own net, and while he did try to take a few more shifts after some repairs in the room, it wasn't long before he, too, had to be shut down for the night. (Jack Skille, in theory, was returning to Springfield tonight. Something tells me his phone started ringing before he got to the airport.)

Despite being heavily outshot, though, the Jackets seemed to weather the storm, and even appeared to have taken a 1-0 lead late in the first period off of a scrum in front of Al Montoya, but referee Tim Peel would wave it off due to incidental contact, which could not be reviewed.

(That said, replays pretty clearly showed that Calvert did not contact Montoya before the puck crossed the line, and was being pushed into the crease by Jacob Trouba.)

After that frustrating turn, the game would go scoreless into the second period, though the Jackets had some strong power play opportunities, they failed to make much at all happen in front of Montoya, and ended up giving a shorthanded break to James Wright. Worse, when Fedor Tyutin tried to hook him down to break up the chance, he'd take a high stick to the face that opened up a nasty gash in his face. (And somehow, despite bleeding like a stuck hog and taking the blow right in front of referee Gord Dwyer, there would be no call.)

Tyutin left for repairs, and would not return until the third period, leaving Columbus down a full d pairing.

That fatigue was really starting to show late in the period, especially after the extended penalty kill, and Winnipeg jumped on the Jackets, forcing Mike McKenna to make several big saves.

Unfortunately, the Jets would find an advantage, though once again the officiating had a major impact on the goal. Working a cycle, Jacob Trouba sent the puck to Michael Frolik at the blue line, and replays showed that the puck left the zone. (Not just my opinion on that, either.) The offside play went uncalled, and Evander Kane would drive the puck down to the net before nailing a pass to Mark Scheifle, who put the puck behind McKenna to open the scoring.

That goal put the Jackets a fair way off balance, and they spent the rest of the period reacting, rather than pushing back, and in honesty, the team was lucky to end the period down just one goal.

As the third period began, Tyutin did return to the lineup, but the Jackets would be put under more pressure when Jacob Trouba went down....shall we say dramatically?...after getting stick checked by Cam Atkinson, and this time Dwyer decided to not only call the penalty, but to call a double minor. Given the lack of a call in the second period on a far worse insult, head coach Todd Richards was unsurprisingly displeased, and made sure the officials were aware, but the penalty stood, and the PK was forced to go on, missing two of their best PKers.

The Jackets had nearly shut down the first penalty, but with just a few seconds left in the first two minutes Dustin Byfuglien opened up a hard shot from the top of the zone that went off Bryan Little's stick, then deflected off David Savard's skate and into the net.

Frustration was growing on the bench and in the stands, but the Jackets would finally get a break when R.J. Umberger was able to break the seal on a wraparound. Ryan Johansen drove the puck out of his own zone, then got Calvert going to break through the offensive zone. Umberger got the puck behind the net, curled around, and tucked it in against the near post for the goal.

The cheering had barely faded, though, when Evander Kane went up ice on a 3 on 1 rush and buried his chance, extending the Winnipeg lead to 3-1.

The Jackets weren't quite done, though, and kept the attack going. Nick Foligno would find a loose puck and take a shot on Montoya that rebounded up towards the left faceoff circle, and Fedor Tyutin pinched in, stepping into his shot and scoring his second goal in two games.

With just under eight minutes left after the goal, the Jackets tried to push their way in, and there was a near-miss moment for Matt Calvert that almost tied the game, but unfortunately the Jets pushed back, and kept the Jackets from creating more chaos around the net, keeping the attackers to the outside and trapping the puck at every opportunity until the clock finally, painfully, ran down.

Final Score: Jets 3 - Jackets 2

Standard Bearers:

  • Fedor Tyutin - Hell of a thing to get your face can-openered and come back to score a big goal.
  • Ryan Johansen - In addition to keeping his personal points streak going, he was strong in the faceoff circle and had a solid overall game.
  • Matt Calvert - Should have been a goal. Nuff said.

Bottom of the Barrel:

  • Officiating - Un calice de merde d'une multitude de mules malades.
  • Offensive push - The Jackets were in a bad place tonight for a number of reasons, but the fact remains that they managed just 24 shots tonight, and almost half of those came in the second period.
  • Injuries - This team keeps losing significant bodies. That's taking a toll.

You have to wonder if the Jackets were guilty of looking past this game to the home and home coming up against the Flyers. It's understandable, particularly with only a handful of games left before the holidays, but if so, it came at a significant price. Even an OT game wouldn't have been so bad, since the "bonus point" wouldn't affect the Eastern conference standings, but unfortunately this is another one that just didn't come together.

Here's hoping the injuries are minor, and that James Wisniewski and Marian Gaborik do return to the lineup this week as predicted. The club, and their fans, could use some good news after the past two games.

Before I forget, here's the advanced stats from the guys at Extra Skater.

Now go home, say nothing, and drink to forget.

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