Status Check: The Long March
While playoff hopes shrank again this week, taking four points out of four games would normally be a fairly decent result - it's simply that two of the losses were games that clearly slipped away from the Jackets.
After seeing their losing streak extend to seven games with a shootout loss and OT loss to St. Louis and a single-handed trampling by Anze Kopitar and the LA Kings, the Jackets finally found hard work paying off with their win in Carolina on Saturday night, hopefully setting a springboard for the remainder of the month.
Derek MacKenzie - Splitting his time between the top line and the bottom line this week, MacKenzie delivered four goals and a +5 rating this week. (Totals for March: 4G, 1A, +6)
Rick Nash - The captain may not have broken his goal scoring slump, but he had a point streak going until Saturday with four assists in three games. (4A, -2, 6 PIM)
Grant Clitsome - Three more assists for the Clitter, but his defensive play is a bit of a problem. (3A, -2, 4 PIM)
Jakub Voracek - After a slow start last week, Jake found the accelerator pedal and delivered a pair of goals and an assist. (2G, 3A)
Kris Russell - Little Shake delivered a pair of assists this week, and his move to setup the Pahlsson shortie was the type of dynamic player we've been waiting for. (4A, 10 PIM)
Derek Dorsett - The chemistry between Dorsett, Upshall, and Pahlsson continues to develop, with two assists this week...and 11 PIMs. (4A, +2, 23 PIM)
Antoine Vermette - Another top six forward getting it in gear, Vermette had a pair of assists. (1G, 3A, -1, 8PIM)
R. J. Umberger - A goal and an assist gave Umberger 50 points for the season. (1G, 2A, -4)
Matt Calvert - His goal in St. Louis kept the Jackets on the attack, and his assist for MacKenzie's first goal on Saturday was a product of his relentless hustle. (1G, 1A, +3, 4 PIM)
Fedor Tyutin - Tyutin delivered a power play goal and another assist, but took an ill timed penalty on Saturday. (1G, 1A, -1, 4 PIM)
Derick Brassard - Though his hand is not healed enough to allow Brassard to take faceoffs regularly, he did contribute a goal and an assist in his return so far. (1G, 1A, 2 PIM)
Scottie Upshall - His goal on Thursday moved him into third place on the club for goals, and 6th place in overall scoring. (3G, -5, 4 PIM)
Sammy Pahlsson - Pahlsson's shorthanded goal was a much needed breath of fresh air for the club. (1G, 2A, +1, 4 PIM)
Jan Hejda - Sadly, he wasn't the same scoring threat this week as he was after the trade deadline, but he still had an assist to go with his usual solid defensive play. (1A, +2, 2 PIM)
Ethan Moreau - Some bad decisions away from the puck were the story of Moreau's week. (1A, 6 PIM)
Jared Boll - Boll had two fights and an assist this week. (1A, -1, 10 PIM)
Craig Rivet - What was more important? His goal in Calgary, or the way he dropped the gloves in St. Louis when the Blues tried to take extra whacks at Mason? (1G, 2 PIM)
Marc Methot - Injured against LA, the team have to be hoping he'll return for the matchup against Boston, given his tendency to log big minutes. (-2, 2 PIM)
Sami Lepisto - Lepisto continues to shoot the puck at the net, but he hasn't been able to register a point yet as a Jacket. (+2, 0 PIM)
Chris Clark - After returning to the lineup, Clark had a solid defensive game in Carolina, but left with an undisclosed injury. His status for Tuesday is up in the air. (+/- 0, 2 PIM)
Kyle Wilson - Brought up as insurance for the first game vs. St. Louis this week, Wilson was unable to convert in the shootout and soon found his way back to Springfield. (-1, 0 PIM)
Steve Mason - The defense in front of him didn't do him any favors, but even with his stellar effort in Carolina he averaged four goals allowed a game and a .883 save percentage this week. Given that the team's broadcasters made a big deal about Dave Rook joining the team in Carolina, I have to wonder why he wasn't with the team for the critical last two weeks after the trade deadline? (3.5 GAA, .875 SV%)
Mathieu Garon - Garon also gave up four goals in his single appearance this week, and his .846 save percentage goes a long way to explaining why Scott Arniel didn't go back to him in the second half of the back to back this weekend. (2.0 GAA, .923 SV%)
The MVP for this week is pretty clearly MacKenzie, though Nash certainly did his part. Unfortunately, if this team misses the playoffs (as seems more likely now than it did on March 1st), goaltending is going to be the biggest reason why. The defense deserves its' share of pans as well, but you just can't win games when both your goaltenders are giving up 4-5 goals every time out.
Last but not least, don't forget about our new shop, including two new designs added this past weekend, and part of every purchase will be donated to the CBJ Foundation!