"It began on Gallifrey, as children. Eight years old. I was taken to stare into the heart of the Untempered Schism. They took me there...into the dark. I looked into Time, and I heard it calling to me. Drums. DRUMS! The Never! Ending! DRUMS!"
-The hon. Harold Saxon, PM
When one of the Blue Jackets' biggest reasons for moving out of the Western Conference is their headaches with time zones and travel, it's strangely appropriate that some of their biggest games will come in California, on the road, with 10pm or later starts that force fans to either stay up late or wait until tomorrow to read the paper to see what happened.
I gotta admit, I had to work today, so I took the better part of valor...but I had faith. And that faith was amply rewarded.
In the first period, despite not getting a goal past Ducks' rookie netminder Viktor Fasth, the team was pressing hard, including TWO shorthanded breakaways by R.J. Umberger, but the Ducks would score first on the power play when rookie defenseman Sami Vatanen put a shot through traffic that got past Sergei Bobrovsky. (It's his first NHL goal, of course - the team may be good, but the Curse of Columbus has to raise its' head somehow.)
Despite that, the team didn't shrink back - if anything, they turned on the gas - and finally Blake Comeau would get his stick on a James Wisniewski shot to redirect it into the back of the net, tying the game late in the second period.
Anaheim would take the lead again when David Steckel managed to score on a...well, a just plain weird goal, which I'm sure Bob wants back, but sometimes flukes happen. The puck managed to fall out of midair just perfectly. It could have been a metaphor for SO many things...but the Jackets did what they've done so many times of late: They overcame it.
Brandon Dubinsky drove behind the Ducks' net, took control of the puck, and fed it out in front. Cam Atkinson missed the doorstep opportunity, but Matt Calvert was wide open and made it happen.
60 minutes would not be enough, but the Jackets wouldn't need too much more. Early in OT, Nick Foligno took the puck deep into the offensive zone, then threw it on net, where Fedor Tyutin pinched in and redirected it past Fasth, sending the Jackets into sole possession of eight place, and the team streaming off the bench to celebrate.
The club has to play again tonight, but they have the benefit of being able to make a 40 minute drive up the 5 instead of having to get on a plane. The door is open. They've broken through.
Can you hear the drums? They're calling us on.
- Blake Comeau - It's early in his career as a Jacket, but he reminds me a bit of the 2009 edition of Raffi Torres. He doesn't score a ton, but each time he does has been a BIG goal. He's got a bit of grit, but he's showing he has hands - or at least a good instinct on when to go to the net, which is just as important.
- Brandon Dubinsky - Not surprised at all to see that Dubi made the tying goal happen, or that he won better than two thirds of his faceoffs. He's one of the guys really driving the bus right now.
- Nick Foligno - After starting the season so snakebitten that he was getting anti-venom injections between periods, Foligno has been the scorer or primary assist for some mighty huge goals.
- Fedor Tyutin - Nine times out of ten, Tyoots does his job quietly, without fanfare, but very very well. This time he was exactly where he needed to be, and he knew exactly what to do.
Bottom of the Barrel:
- Premature Ejection? - The team announced after warm-ups last night that David Savard would be sent back down to Springy, but then Nikita Nikitin left the game early with another injury. I sure hope his flight out wasn't until today...and that his ticket's refundable.
- Power Play - 0/3. Admittedly, it worked out in their favor regardless, but it's VERY difficult to advance in the playoffs without some special teams success. Seeing a PPG or two in the last few games would make a lot of fans feel better.
- Columbus Media - No, really, you can start talking about this team.