Game 70 Recap: Deflated

The Columbus Blue Jackets surrendered two first period goals to the visiting Detroit Red Wings Thursday night at Nationwide Arena. The Wings earlier in the day summoned goaltender Joey MacDonald from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. MacDonald turned aside 37 shots to record his second NHL shutout and backstop the Wings to a 2-0 victory over the Jackets.

The defeat was a crushing blow to the Jackets' razor thin playoff hopes. This late in the season, each game that the Jackets come away with anything other than two points, is one game closer to the end of a season that started with so much promise, being vanquished and left with the haunting words of "wait 'til next year". I was optimistic earlier today, now I'm not so sure.

Detroit got rolling early with a goal at the 33 second mark of the opening stanza. Drew Miller tallied his eighth of the season on an assist from Darren Helm. The play unfolded after a neutral zone turnover. The sudden development of the play, so early in the game, made it easy to question whether Steve Mason was ready at the outset of the game.

At the 6:52 mark, Derek MacKenzie got into his first NHL fight, throwing them with Drew Miller. That scrap will put the kibosh on either picking up the Lady Byng trophy. Prior to the fight, each man only had four minor penalties on the season.

A penalty to Rick Nash for high sticking came back to haunt the Jackets when Valtteri Filppula deposited a Johan Franzen pass behind Mase for the second Red Wings goal on the power play at 11:23.

Danny Cleary took a roughing minor for getting his hands high on Sami Lepisto at 11:39. The power play showed some signs of life as Rick Nash rang one off the iron. That was as close as the Jackets would get on that PP however.

All things considered, the play of the Jackets was not awful in the first period. They outshot the Wings 14-8. Joey MacDonald certainly looked beatable more than once in the period, but the Jackets simply could not convert. The Red Wings left the ice with a 2-0 lead.

The second period started in much the same way as the first period went. The Jackets applied some pressure in the early stages of the period on Joey MacDonald, who was out of position, but still managed to keep the puck out of the cage.

The Jackets had a nice sequence around the 7 minute mark when Grant Clitsome fired from the point. As was the case for the first half of the game, MacDonald kicked the puck straight out to Matt Calvert and once again the Jackets couldn't convert on a golden opportunity.

One reliable factor for the Blue Jackets again tonight was the play of Scottie Upshall. Upshall, since his arrival, has been one of those greasy type players...not afraid to play the game with a degree of physicality, but also a scoring threat. He's been fun to watch the past couple of weeks.

An uneventful second period wrapped up with the score remaining 2-0 in favor of Detroit. Joey MacDonald, despite some unorthodox saves, remained perfect, stopping all 24 shot that the Jackets sent his way. Detroit outshot the Jackets in the second period by an 11-10 margin. Steve Mason settled down for Columbus and had a good period.

The third period started with a brief Jackets' power play, left over from late in the second period when the Red Wings were called for too many men on the ice.

There was a video review of a potential Blue Jackets' goal about 15 minutes into the third period. The inconclusive nature of the replay led the on ice officials to stand by their original "no goal" call. This call, nowhere near as objectionable as in the Nashville game two weeks ago, still shows the flaws in the review system. MacDonald's catch glove was clearly inside the net, but if the review officials can't see the puck, they won't change the call.

The game came to it's disappointing conclusion with a Johan Franzen high stick into R.J. Umberger's face. This was one of those games where the Jackets didn't play that badly. They played well enough to win in fact, but some intergalactic force was smiling upon the returning Joey MacDonald tonight. Still, however you look at it, he faced 37 shots and kept them all out of the net. Well, at least 36 of them. The Jackets had many great opportunities in this one and simply couldn't get the job done.

The Jackets will next be in action this weekend. Saturday afternoon, they will travel to Minneapolis for a 2PM game with the Minnesota Wild. Then the Jackets return to Nationwide for a 5PM game on Sunday against the white hot New Jersey Devils. For all the latest Blue Jackets news and commentary stay with us here at The Cannon!

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