It was a must win game for the Jackets, and though Dallas gave them a very difficult time the Jackets prevailed, thanks to the normally weak powerplay and strong defensive play.
First Period Notes:
- Sergei Bobrovsky manned the cage for the Jackets, while the Stars gave the start to Kari Lehtonen.
- The Jackets wasted no time getting on the board. After some strong work along the right boards by Brandon Dubinsky, number 17 fired the puck on-net, with Lehtonen making the save. Blake Comeau gathered the rebound and fired a shot himself, but it was also stopped by Lehtonen. Cam Atkinson, however, found the puck in the blue and fired it in to give the Jackets the lead.
Dalton Prout continues to be a rock-solid defender for the Jackets. In addition to his steady defensive play, he showed a willingness to stand up for his teammates, dropping the mitts with Eric Nystrom, after the Dallas forward laid a hard (but clean) open-ice hit on R.J. Umberger.
- With 12:34 remaining, the Stars earned the first powerplay of the game after Blake Comeau was sent to the sinbin for boarding. The Jackets were able to kill it off. It's no secret that aside from Bob, the team penalty kill is the best part of the Jackets' season.
- Midway through the period, Erik Cole had a clear look at the Columbus goal off a partial break. Guess what? Yeah. Bob shut the friggin door.
- The Jackets' Achilles heel this year has been their powerplay. They were given two chances in the first period, but were unable to take advantage. I'm really excited for next year, where a normal training camp and the normal practice time that comes with am 82-game schedule, not to mention Marian Gaborik from the start, should lead to an improved PP.
- Speaking of Gaborik, he came very close to giving the Jackets a two-goal lead late in the period. He intercepted a pass at the Columbus blueline, turned on the jets, and streaked toward the Dallas goal. Lehtonen was able to get a pad on the shot, however.
- Score after the first: 1-0 Jackets.
Second Period Notes:
- Early in the middle period, Vinny Prospal and Jamie Benn penalized each other, but neither team could do any damage while playing four-on-four.
- Shortly after returning to normal play, R.J. Umberger found himself behind the Dallas defense, getting a shot off, but Lehtonen stood tall. I really don't know where I stand with Umby. I mean, I like the guy, but with that contract...
- The best line for the Jackets on this night was the Comeau-Dubi-Cam trio. They had two very good chances in the second period, but the ridiculous play of Lehtonen prevented them from potting one. Comeau is very versatile, but I think Dubi-Cam has a hell of a lot of potential in the future.
- At 7:36 of the frame, Ryan Johansen was sent off for high-sticking. While up a man, the Stars tied the game when a Dallas shot deflected off the stick of Atkinson, finding Jamie Benn waiting by the right post. Benn had an easy put-in.
- Later in the period, Jared Boll and Lane MacDermid threw down after discussing it prior to a faceoff. It wasn't much of a scrap, with Boller losing his balance before either pugilist could start throwing bombs. Put me in the group that loves fighting as part of the game, but not the staged variety. The best scraps are the ones born out of passion and hatred between teams in high-tempo situations.
- The Stars owned most of the latter half of the period. After Adrian Aucoin was sent off for hooking, the Stars were dominant, hemming the Jackets in their zone. The final two-ish minutes of the period were stressful from a Columbus perspective, with the Jackets lucky to escape the period still tied.
- Score after the second: 1-1.
Third Period Notes:
- During the intermission, the teams were no doubt informed that the Red Wings defeated the Nashville Predators, meaning the Stars were eliminated. The Jackets came out hard, with lots of jump. They had far more purpose in the final period.
- The first half of the final frame went by very fast, with the Jackets carrying the play. The Stars didn't let up though, even with the news that their season wouldn't extend into the postseason.
- With 12:07 left in regulation, Stephane Robidas was sent to the box. Just three seconds into the penalty, Dubi won the offensive zone faceoff, sending the puck to Mark Letestu at the point. Letestu took a touch before blasting it past Lehtonen to give the Jackets the lead.
- Columbus continued to apply pressure on the Stars after the goal, but Dallas gave the Jackets a few scares. The game started to move back to the back-and-forth that we saw in the second, before a soft call that went in the Jackets' favor.
- Eric Nystrom's interference call was weak, but the Jackets took full advantage. After a point shot from Jack Johnson, the puck fell into no-man's land behind Lehtonen, where Cam was there to fire the insurance goal into the net.
Final Score: 3-1 Jackets
1) The Columbus powerplay! The 30th ranked PP unit in the league picked a great time to catch fire, scoring two goals.
2) Cam Atkinson scored two of the three goals for the Jackets- so clutch.
3) Sergei Bobrovsky made some big saves. Bob being Bob.
4) The Jackets are still in the playoff hunt!
Bottom of the Barrel:
1) Hey Detroit- GFY.
2) You know how I roll- big wins lead me to forget how to fill this section out.
The Jackets finally return home on Saturday, where they close out the regular season against the Preds. It's a must-win game for the Jackets to make the playoffs, and we need Dallas to take out the Wings. Buckle up, Jackets fans!