Game 38 Recap: This Is Not The Recap You're Looking For
Both teams looked sloppy on the second night of back-to-back games in what was supposed to be a feisty fight for playoff contention.
Of all the teams the Blue Jackets needed to beat in the final 11 games of the season, the St. Louis Blues were perhaps the one that mattered most.
Thick in the hunt for a playoff spot, the Blues are the one team Columbus will definitely need to pass in the standings. A win could have temporarily tied the Jackets for 7th in the West. Instead, a loss keeps them at 10th and gives the Blues two critical points to remain in 8th place.
First Period Notes:
- Blake Comeau hits hard and can skate quick. He will fit in just fine on the fourth line if he keeps up the intensity.
- Oh, the intensity. You can tell Comeau was the only player to not play last night. What should have been a playoff atmosphere turned into a snooze fest for the first period. Even the crowd wasn't into the game. There should have been more urgency from both teams.
- The Blue Jackets power play would be best in the league if they counted total passes made with the man advantage.
- Or total Fedor Tyutin drop passes in the neutral zone.
- Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, and Cam Atkinson were the most dangerous line for the second straight game. The quickness of that line cannot be contained.
- Finally, with 26.5 seconds left to go in the first period, it started getting nasty. A scrum resulted in two penalties to each side. More on this later.
Second Period Notes:
- Good penalty kill to open the second period. One of the best scoring chances all night came on a Mark Letestu breakaway on the PK (tell me if you've heard this before).
- Still not much intensity in the second, even after closing the first with a 10-man scrum.
- Blues rookie goalie Jake Allen was pretty steady when he needed to be. I'm curious to see if he'll crumble in his second year under Hitch like so many other goalies in recent memory.
- The refs made some ticky tacky calls, yet seemed to make no calls at the same time. David Backes was poking and prodding at the Jackets all night and the refs never called anything. Yet when any player on the Blue Jackets stood up for themselves, the refs immediately called coincidental minors. They seem to always "let the boys play" when Columbus and St. Louis face off, but they can never make the right calls to keep it from getting out of hand.
- Nick Foligno had some chances and often looked dangerous with the puck, but couldn't cash in. If he could convert on just some of these chances he'd lead the team in goals right now.
Third Period Notes:
- The Blues power play looked a lot like the Jackets normally does – a lot of passing. This is a testament to the Columbus PK, which remains one of the best of the league. They did, however, give up a power play goal after taking back-to-back penalties.
- Backes continued to take extra jabs at players after the whistle. I had to wonder if this would've happened with Jared Boll in the lineup. With all the grief Boll has (rightfully) received over the last couple seasons, he does keep the other team in line and will keep a lot of this extra junk from taking place. I think #40 has been solid when on the ice this year, and especially when lined up with MacKenzie, Letestu, or Gillies, he's provided a lot of energy. A fourth line of Comeau-Letestu-Boll could be dangerous if this team makes it into the playoffs.
Final Score: 3-1 Blues
1) The Columbus Blue Rangers. Artem Anisimov cashed in on a goal assisted by Marian Gaborik and Vinny Prospal. The threat of Gaborik crossing in front of the goalie opened up the five-hole for #42 and it was beautiful. More goals like this will be coming.
2) 11-17-13 – Another quick game from this line and they made their presence known when they were on the ice. Overall, the best line tonight and yet another goal called back. Calvert was being pushed into the crease and impeded Allen's play, according to the refs.
3) Adrian Aucoin. 1,100 games played in the National Hockey League is impressive no matter how you look at it. Stick tap to #33.
Bottom of the Barrel:
1) Drop passes in the neutral zone. It seems like the Ghost of Derick Brassard is still lingering as too many players on this team seem to this it's ok to make drop passes in the neutral zone, specifically on the power play. Dump the puck in or carry it in the zone. Too many players don't want to take the charge. Tyutin, Umberger, Tyutin again... just stop it.
2) Matt Calvert's ability to get 4 goals called back in one week.
3) The defense. At times, they seemed steady, but they had a real up and down game tonight. Each player got beat in the zone at least once, except for maybe Dalton Prout. The Backes goal should've never happened.
Next game is Sunday at 6pm against the Minnesota Wild. If it'll take approximately 55 points to make the playoffs, the Blue Jackets are looking for 16 points in their final 10 games. 4 home games remain, with 6 on the road. Losing against St. Louis hurts, but the regulation win in Nashville still helps. If the Jackets can go 4-0 or 3-0-1 at home the rest of the way, they'll need to go something like 3-1-2 on the road. Not easy, but not impossible.