After putting up a stinker against the Wild last game, the Jackets were looking for a bounce-back effort as they march toward the playoffs. They got effort in spades, in addition to some timely goal scoring and strong play by Bob.
First Period Notes:
- The goaltending matchup featured Sergei Bobrovsky for Columbus against the Sharks' Antti Niemi.
- The fourth line of Blake Comeau, Derek MacKenzie and Colton Gillies set the physical tone early for the Jackets. The trio came out banging and crashing, with Comeau a threat to lay out a big hit all period long. He was a great add at the trade deadline, especially with Jared Boll sidelined by injury.
- The only penalties of the opening period were minors to Adrian Aucoin for interfering James Sheppard, and two minutes for Sheppard's slash on Aucoin in retaliation. While four-on-four, neither team was able to get on the board. You can say this about Aucoin (Aucy, Oakie, how would you spell his nickname?)- he is very steady. I wonder if he'll be brought back in the same capacity next season. Ryan Murray missed out on his tutelage this year, but could certainly use the guidance that Aucoin gave to the likes of Dalton Prout and Tim Erixon.
- The Atkinvert twins decided they had enough scoreless hockey. After some hard work along the wall by Matty Hustle, the puck made its way to Cam behind the net. Cam wrapped around, with Niemi making the save. The rebound however, found Hustle's stick, who promptly deposited it into the net for a 1-0 lead.
- Bob has been great this season, that much is obvious. That said, Bob- please stop trying to play the puck with your stick!
- Score after the first: 1-0 Jackets.
Second Period Notes:
- The second period was all Columbus. After another strong shift by the fourth line, the Sharks found themselves hemmed into their zone. James Wisniewski gathered the puck, passing it cross-point to Aucoin. Aucoin fed it right back to Wiz, who blasted a one-time bomb past Niemi. "The Wiz".
- Moments later, the boys were back at it. Vinny Prospal fed the puck cross-ice to Marian Gaborik, stationed on the right wing. Gaborik drew a pair of Shark defenders toward him, and after some fancy stickwork, he feathered a soft pass to the slot where a streaking Ryan Johansen took the pass and fired it into the net.
- Joey kept it going next shift, taking the puck hard to the net. R.J. Umberger was his wingman on the play, forcing Dan Boyle into an interference penalty. The powerplay failed to bear fruit, but it was one of the better looking powerplays that Columbus has put forth all season.
- There was a scary moment later in the period. After a scramble in front of Bob, T.J. Galiardi skated in hard on-net after a rebound. He managed to send a backhand shot way wide, but made no attempt to slow down. He crashed into Bob hard, sending the goalie into his net. Galiardi was given the two minutes for goalie interference, and though he was shaken up, Bob was no worse for wear. It could have been a lot worse. You would hate to see a Vezina-caliber season end like that.
- Score after the second: 3-0 Jackets.
Third Period Notes:
- The final period saw the Jackets score their fourth goal of the night, and it also happened to be the nicest. Jack Johnson angled a pass off the boards to Artem Anisimov, who led a two-on-one with Gaborik. Arty waited, and then fed a pass to Gaby, who then promptly deked Niemi out of his shorts, and as it happened, out of the game as well. Niemi was replaced in net with Thomas Greiss.
- This game was an overall defensive effort by the Jackets, and Bob made the saves he had to. His best of the game came in the final period, when Patrick Marleau found himself with the puck behind the defense. He was able to lift the puck on Bob, but Bob responded with a huge stop.
- The Jackets caught a rare break late in the period, when the Sharks thought they got on the board. After getting bumped, Bob was hung up with a Columbus defender while Adam Burish backhanded the puck in the open net. The goal was waived off due to incidental contact, but the fact is it was a good goal.
Final Score: 4-0 Jackets
1) Solid team effort tonight. Props to the whole team.
2) Bob with his 4th shutout of the season.
3) Dalton Prout, who was questionable to even play tonight, was excellent. In addition to rock-solid play in his own end, he dished out a huge hit on James Sheppard late in the third period.
4) Marian Gaborik is a star.
Bottom of the Barrel:
The Jackets return to action on Friday, when they host the Blues.