Game 43 Recap: Jackets Defeat Avalanche in OT

The march toward the playoffs continued for the Jackets tonight, as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime tonight.

This was a difficult day, and the boys here at The Cannon have those who've been touched by the horror in Boston today in their thoughts. Sport is one of the very few things which can bring people together, and on this night, even for just a moment, we were able to feel the excitement of a Columbus victory amid all the sadness and fear brought about by the day's events.

First Period Notes:

  • The NHL's First Star of the week Sergei Bobrovsky was in the Columbus cage, while the Avs countered with Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
  • The first period was laaaaaame. Both teams traded chances early, but after the first media timeout the game turned into a sloppy mess, full of turnovers and missed passes.
  • Marian Gaborik had a pair of chances in the first, the second of which saw him put a shot on net after a slick behind-the-back pass from Vinny Prospal. Somehow Giggy made the save, but the refs went upstairs for confirmation. No goal.
  • Bob made some saves, as did Giggy.
  • What else....
  • Ummm...
  • ...
  • Score after the first: 0-0.

Second Period Notes:

  • In the never-ending search for offense, coach Todd Richards shuffled his lines early in the period, putting together combinations like Foligno-Johansen-Gaborik, Prospal-Letestu-Boll, etc. By the end of the period, however, the lines were back to the combinations we've been used to seeing.
  • A scrum developed after a whistle early in the period, and Vinny was involved. He took a shove from an Avalanche player, and I swear, Vinny got a rabid, psycho look of madness in response- I thought he was about to go beast mode on the guy and eat him alive. Alas, cooler heads prevailed. Vinny is intense, man. Like crazy intense.
  • After a shift that went almost a minute too long, the Atkinverts were caught in their zone, along with the tired defense pairing of James Wisniewski and Adrian Aucoin. After a mess in front of Bob, the Avs' Cody McLeod found the loose puck and jammed it in the net to give Colorado the lead.
  • The Jackets got it right back though- after a nice effort to retrieve the puck on the left wing along the boards, Vinny dumped the puck into the Avs' zone and chased it down. The dump went off the referee and right back to his stick, where he prompty fed it cross-ice to a charging Mark Letestu. The Test Tube hammered it past Giguere to tie it up. Letestu is CLUTCH.
  • Not sure who started it, but Wiz and Brad Malone dropped gloves shortly afterward. We'll call it a draw, but I was cringing during the tilt, hoping that Wiz's mitts stay intact. Great for him to throw down though, but at this point in the season we can't risk injury.
  • Gaby earned himself a four-minute sit-down in the box for high-sticking late in the period. Ain't no thing, though, 'cause the Jackets' kill was tight, preventing the Avs from getting anything going.
  • Score after the second: 1-1.

Third Period Notes:

  • The fourth line started the game on a bad note, with a handful of turnovers. Early in the third all was forgiven, as the trio of Blake Comeau, Jared Boll and Derek MacKenzie each got a touch as the Jackets took the lead. Boller shielded the puck behind the Avs' net, before sliding it to DMac, who then fed Comeau in the slot. Comeau wired it past Giggy to give the Jackets the lead. It was Comeau's first goal as a Jacket.
  • Minutes later, Nikki6 had a rough shift, to say the least. After receiving a hip-check from a teammate, which seemingly hurt his upper body, he managed to gain his feet. When he got up, Tyson Barrie fired a puck on net, where Nikki's man McLeod managed to get credit for a goal. All of this was after Nikki turned the puck over in his own zone.
  • Late in the period, Nikki was sent to the box for high-sticking. It only took the Avs a few seconds to take the lead- Stefan Elliott wristed his first of the year past Bob. This goal should have been a back breaker, but...
  • 35 seconds later Ryan Johansen lobbed a pass up the middle, and after going off a Colorado stick, the puck found a streaking R.J. Umberger. Umby continued forward with a defender on his back, pulled off a nice deke to his backhand, beating Giguere. RESILIENCE.
  • Shane O'Brien was whistled for elbowing, putting the Jackets on the powerplay to close out regulation.

OT Notes:

  • The Columbus powerplay carried over into extra time, but the Avs had the best chance. Gabriel Landeskog, who already has three shorties on the year, gathered the puck and skated in alone on Bob. Our boy stood tall, making an excellent glove save to keep the game tied.
  • After returning to four-on-four, the Avs took over. They pressed hard, peppering Bob in the Columbus goal.
  • In the final minute of overtime, Fedor Tyutin won a puck battle near the Columbus blueline, feeding Nick Foligno the puck from his knees. Foligno skated up-ice on a two-on-one with Umby, kept the puck, and wired it past Giguere for the win! I've been waiting for Nicky to bag one. Huge win on the road!

Final Score: 4-3 Jackets (OT)

Standard Bearers:

1) Nicky Foligno with the HUGE goal in OT to seal the deal.

2) How can you not fall in love with Umby all over again after the tieing goal late in regulation to force OT?

3) Bob, 'cause he's Bob.

4) The fourth line overcame early shakiness to have a solid game, even coming together to pot a goal. Congrats to Blake Comeau on his first as a Jacket!

5) Greg Zanon's beard.

Bottom of the Barrel:

1) Nikki6 had a tough night, let's hope he's not too banged up.

2) Adrian Aucoin didn't play in the third period. Here's hoping he's ok too.

The Jackets are back at it on Wednesday, when they visit the Ducks in Anaheim.

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