There were a lot of things the Jackets did right against the Anaheim Ducks, but little mistakes and all too familiar errors of judgement brought them down once again.
I have to confess something here, guys: I fell asleep.
I was fine through the first period, but as the second period dragged on my eyelids started to droop, the brows rested, and my wife sensibly suggested I go to bed.
The shame is that things started off so well.
The Jackets came out with a roar, perhaps trying to make up for the lack of Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Cam Atkinson through sheer fury. Jonas Hiller was subjected to a flurry of shots, and we'd see them pay off early when Vinny Prospal cashed in, taking a Mark Letestu shot off his body and tapping it into the net.
I was reminded, in a good way, of the San Jose game. With the Jackets leading 9-1 on the shot clock, the first power play opportunity of the game seemed like a good chance to extend that lead. Unfortunately, things began to misfire, and eventually Fedor Tyutin would be sent to the box to even things up.
4 on 4, the Jackets did a smart thing by trying to drive the play deep into the Anaheim zone, but a combination of a bad turnover by Dorsett and an ill advised pinch by Nikitin as the Anaheim penalty expired meant that Peter Holland left the box with nothing between him and the net except empty ice. One long stretch pass later, Holland was one on one with Bob, and the Russian netminder couldn't make the stop.
Then things got weird.
On the ensuing faceoff, the Ducks drove hard into the Jackets' zone, and Nikitin would turn the puck over right in front of his own net. Ryan Getzlaf would get posession, fight his way around the net, and bang the puck past Bob. Fans (and the Jackets bench) made a pretty strong argument for interference, given that Cory Perry was standing on top of Bobrovsky at the time, but let's face it - the 30th place team isn't going to get those calls against the Pacific Division leaders.
The Jackets would attempt to rally again, including another strong flurry to start the second, but things would stay fairly static until the third period. From what I can see, there was a somewhat...liberal....call against Nick Drazenovic, and Anaheim wasted no time on the power play.
Cory Perry took one shot that was blocked in front of the net by Fedor Tyutin, then caught the rebound from the block and elevated it up and over Bob's shoulder at a sharp angle to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead, and that's where most other people likely turned off their TVs.
To their credit, however, the Jackets did their best to make this game. Working in the Anaheim zone, R.J. Umberger would send the puck up to James Wisniewski at the blue line for a one timer, and Derick Brassard was there to snap up the rebound and pound it past Hiller to bring the Jackets within a goal once again.
Unfortunately, close is not enough in this game, and even one last power play opportunity would not be enough to give them tie, let alone a win.
Final Score - Ducks 3 - Jackets 2
- Derick Brassard - The club needs Brass to get going, and to his credit he's really putting in a lot of work down low and around the net. Hopefully his goal was a sign that he's putting things together.
- Sergei Bobrovsky - Bob made some huge stops in this game, including an insane glove save on Kyle Palmieri.
- Mark Letestu - In addition to setting up the opening goal, Letestu was driving play every time I saw him on the ice, and was the only Jackets' center to win the majority of his faceoff battles.
Bottom Of The Barrel:
- Nikita Nikitin - Two of the three Ducks goals happened because Nikitin made very poor decisions. He's been struggling for the last five or six games. I don't understand why coach Richards hasn't made the decision to sit him for a game (or two).
- Power Play - Things were looking better with the return of Wiz, but the club still can't find a goal with the man advantage - something that could have changed the face of this game.
- Adrian Aucoin - Much like Nikitin, Aucoin has been struggling, and while I understand wanting to ease Wiz back in with John Moore, I think pairing Aucoin and Jack Johnson was a shaky combination at best.
0-3 on the road trip, the Jackets now head back East, where they will meet the new boss in Detroit before Thursday's matchup. Something tells me that Jarmo isn't going to offer a warm hearts and bunnies pep talk when he finally gets to sit down with these guys.