It felt good to break the skid with the win against the Stars earlier in the week. Going in to last night, most CBJ fans were excited about a rematch with St.Louis, a team they had beat 8-1 a few weeks earlier. You knew the Blues were going to come out hard, you knew they would be pissed off after getting embarrassed on the score sheet, and you absolutely knew the Blues would, in typical fashion, throw their bodies around.
The Blues didn't disappoint.
They set the physical tone early, and showed plenty of snarl. The vibe that I got from the Jackets was that they were intimidated. Everything they did was tentative, and it lead to plenty of turnovers.
Just 1:14 into the first, Sammy Pahlsson went off for tripping. The Blues responded by scoring a powerplay goal- a sign of things to come. The Jackets later had a 5-on-3 but couldn't convert. A late first period powerplay also produced nothing. I'm not one to bag on the officials, but the Jackets were handed a too-many-men penalty which lead to a Blue PPG against, putting them down 2-0. It was a bad call, one of those "not even close" moments. Head coach Arniel was going nuts behind the bench over the call- I loved it. You can't say the man doesn't have passion.
The second period can be summarized as follows: the hockey was bad, and Columbus gave up another powrplay goal. That's three PPG's against on the night for those keeping score at home. Earlier in the period Erik Johnson caught Antoine Vermette in a vulnerable position, causing him to bang his face off the boards. Incredibly stupid move by Johnson. He got an interference penalty and hopefully will see further discipline.
The Jackets showed some life in the third period, with Jan Hejda getting his second goal of the year. The Jackets were starting to look more composed in the offensive zone, and with a whopping 3 and a half minutes left in the game, Arniel pulled Mathieu Garon for the extra skater. Naturally, the Blues scored an empty netter to win 4-1.
- Kyle Wilson. He seemed like the only forward who was always moving his feet. He wanted the puck all night.
- Antoine Vermette. He was bloodied when Erik Johnson went in to idiot mode, but came back out and played a solid game.
- Scott Arniel. He showed serious passion behind the bench. A little freakout here and there shows he means business. Also, pulling the goalie with so much time left is a message to the team that he is serious about winning.
Bottom of the Barrell:
- Linesmen. I'm not sure which one of the two lineys alerted the ref on the too-many-men call, but it was brutal. The Jackets did not have too many men on the ice, and the powerplay goal scored against the Jackets on that penalty was a back breaker
- Rick Nash. He had some moments, but when Nasher is pressing he becomes a perimeter player. GO TO THE NET bro.
- Erik Johnson. What you did was dangerous, smarten' up.
- Jackets powerplay. 0 for 8? Some of those were 5 on 3s? No goals?
Overall, it was an ugly game, the Jackets got beat up physically and were atrocious on special teams. It's hard to put the 6th loss in 7 games behind you, but this one needs to get filed. Next up: the Jackets host the Rangers at Nationwide tomorrow night.