The Jackets worked their tails off tonight, and behind some stellar goaltending from Curtis Sanford, they came away victorious over the Los Angeles Kings. The game was filled with penalties, and from an entertainment perspective it was a bit of a bore, but at the end of the day the Jackets can go into Anaheim tomorrow night fresh off a hard-earned victory.
Check after the jump for the tale of the tape:First Period
The Jackets started the game with a new-look checking line, this version featuring recent callup Ryan Russell on the left wing. This was Russell's first NHL game.
It didn't take long for the rough stuff to develop, with a scrum developing in front of the Columbus bench. This led to matching minors, putting the teams four-on-four. Neither team would score, but there was a moment where the KIngs got away with one- Willie Mitchell lifted, and then held, the back of the net when Sammy Pahlsson had the puck behind the net. The ref missed the obvious infraction, and after a review by Toronto there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the ref's call.
The teams traded shots, both on net and with the body, until the 8:26 mark, when Drew Doughty went off for cross-checking Derick Brassard. The Kings were excellent on the kill, not allowing the Jackets to set up shop in the offensive zone.
At the 11:03 point of the first, Justin Williams went bananas and gave Marc Methot three punches to the back of his as Methot worked to get the puck up-ice. It was truly bone-headed, and Jared Boll could be seen alerting the Kings bench that the next punches thrown by the Kings wouldn't be free.
The Kings and their spectacular penalty kill went back to work, keeping the score tied at niente. The play of each team was disjointed, and there were a handful of so-so chances for both teams.
At 16:54 Derek Dorsett went off for boarding, but the KIngs were only on the powerplay for a little better than a minute before Justin Williams had another dumbass moment. As he entered the zone, and went elbow-first into R.J. Umberger, and was called for roughing.
The teams went on a partial four-on-four, and the Jackets finished the period on the powerplay. They had a handful of shots on net, but the teams remained deadlocked.
End of the first period, 0-0.
The first real action of the period came when the Kings went up a man, after Boll went off for roughing. The Kings had some decent chances, but couldn't solve Curtis Sanford.
At the 5:38 mark, Boll and Kevin Westgarth threw down. Boller hasn't fought as much this year, but something I've always noticed about him- when he's winning fights, he's also scoring the occassional goal. This season, he's a checker who occassionally fights. I prefer the way that Hitch used to deploy him.
There was absolutely no flow to the first half of the second period. FIrst Jeff Carter went off for hooking, then Kyle Clifford took the same penalty.
Shortly after the teams resumed normal play, the Jackets were cycling the puck, and it made it's way back to David Savard. He advanced the puck, and it made it's way cross-ice to a pinching Grant Clitsome. Clitter wired past Jonathan Quick to take the lead.
1-0 Jackets: Grant Clitsome (Derick Brassard, David Savard)
The parade to the penalty box continued with David Savard going to the box for holiding, and while on the powerplay Willie Mitchell took a high-sticking penalty. Again, neither team could score while on the powerplay.
Just when you thought there was no way the hinges on the penalty box doors would hold any longer, Mike Richards was whistled for hooking. With about 30 seconds left in the powerplay, Anze Kopitar blasted a shot shorthanded but Sanford came up with a huge glove save to maintain the lead.
At the end of the period, Sammy Pahlsson was called for tripping. The call was delayed, and before Columbus could touch the puck, Pahlsson was whistled again for cross-checking.
End of the second period, 1-0 Jackets.
Due to Pahlsson's double minor and a Marc Methot slashing call at the 3:23 mark, the Jackets were on the kill for the first five-and-a-half minutes of the third period. Sanford and the rest of the penalty killers were outstanding, preventing the Kings from tieing the game.
The Kings kept control of the puck for most of the next six minutes. The Jackets stood tall however, playing excellent defensive hockey, and winning a majority of battles. Methot put a big smile on the faces of Jacket fans when he levelled Justin Williams as he crossed the Columbus blueline. Williams had been a bit of a shithead for most of the game to that point.
The pace quickened in the final minutes, with the Kings applying pressure. The Jackets weren't creating much offensively, content to dump the puck after winning defensive battles.
The Kings pulled Quick with 90 seconds left, but shortly after Quick arrived at the bench, Clitsome cleared the puck but it went straight over the glass, leading to a delay of game penalty. The Kings set up six-on-four, but the Jackets were able to hold on for the shutout.
Final Score: 1-0 Jackets
- Curtis Sanford. Sandman put up the doughnut, and looked fantastic in the process, making a handful of great saves.
- The Columbus PK. How often has the Jackets' PK made an appearance on SB? Not often- but tonight they were outstanding.
- Grant Clitsome, cause he scored.
Nikita Nikitin was a beast all night. 'Nuff said.
Bottom of the Barrel
- Was Jeff Carter on the ice? Must have been a late one for he and Mike Richards last night.
- Justin Williams was a doofus tonight. He must really hate afternoon games.
- Undisciplined hockey. Both sides were guilty of it, and it made for a slow, plodding game at times. It's amazing that with how many penalties were called, neither team could capitalize on the powerplay.
This was a gutsy, hard-earned victory for the Jackets. After losing a tight one in San Jose, it was great to see the boys come away with a victory-via shutout no less-and it will give them some momentum heading into tomorrow's game against the Ducks.