Here are my 10 Thoughts about Game 36: Colorado.
1. The Colorado Avalanche were plenty rested with three whole days off. They probably needed it as their last game was a 6-1 lashing by the Washington Capitals. Seems that the rest did them good and left them anxious to play another game – so anxious they scored four goals in the first 8:02 of the first period! Thankfully the Columbus Blue Jackets showed up after that point, but were still handed a 5-2 loss in Denver.
1a. The Blue Jackets now are 14-15-7 and have 35 points, two points from the bottom of the Western Conference standings. 14 of the last 16 games have been losses. Tonight’s game was the start of a “pivotal” and “huge” four-game road trip, according, respectively, to the Columbus Dispatch and forward Jason Chimera.
1b. Unfortunately, defenseman Fedor Tyutin was not a healthy scratch tonight. Maybe if Stralman didn’t get sick…
2a. The Blue Jackets have had all of 2 first period goals in the last 10 games (1-6-3), compared to 8 first period goals in the ten game stretch from October 20th to November 7th (4-4-2). In that same time frame, 18 third period goals were scored against us. In the last ten games, we have allowed only 6 third period goals.
3. Only a few things made me smile tonight during the game:
3b. The image in my head of “Boll and F**te [having] words” or perhaps exchanging holiday greetings. Off-camera. Thanks, Fox Sports…
3c. This. [Language warning!]
3d. Brassard’s hits.
4. Some things did not make me smile. They include:
4a. A breakaway goal 21 seconds into the game. 0-1.
4b. Marc Methot. Although I may slightly favor him (evident if you follow me on Twitter), his play was sloppy. Some might say unacceptable. Not sure why he thought a belly flop would be the most effective defensive maneuver on a certain shot in the first. He was then busy getting up, rendering himself completely ineffective as a defensemen against another shot on goal. 0-2. He once again “won” the +/- battle for the game at -3 (he was -3 for the December 15th game against Nashville as well… he had been benched since then, and was set to be a healthy scratch tonight also, until Stralman got sick).
4c. Ending up at 5-on-3 for a full two minutes… at least, until the Avs scored a goal. 0-4.
5a. Not sure why Hitchcock doesn’t usually decide to “ride the hot hand” – like starting Garon the other day after Mason’s 3-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers, and starting Mason for this game.
6. We scored more power play goals! Actually, we scored more than one goal! Awesome. Even though the Blue Jackets power play percentage has been pretty high in the league lately, I was feeling like we just were not taking advantage of the opportunities had.
7. I’m beginning to like what I’m seeing from Rick Nash again. For a while there I thought he was playing through an injury or illness. Although he didn’t put up any points tonight, he had 4 shots on goal, including a breakaway and a great wraparound attempt.
8. Very physical game tonight. Roy had an incredible and team-leading six hits, and Russell and Chimera had three a piece. Brassard also was credited with two hits, both behind the Avs net near the end of the first period. Even if his play has been less than expected this year, at least he seems passionate. I’ve noticed his hits for many games now… especially when the D is lacking.
10. I was glad to see Portzline’s tweet that the “#CBJ dressing room [was] in lock down mode while players hash out the aftermath of latest ugly loss”.
10a. Apparently Mason “[thinks they’re] finally very ticked off”.
10b. Chimera calls their play “crap”.
10c. Ugh. I’m still sad Tyutin wasn’t scratched. I could have told you the starting combo of Tyutin-Methot was going to be a mess. Then again, I think anything with Tyutin is going to be a mess.
10d. Davidge and Rimer still suck.
Next up: December 21, 2009 at Phoenix. Sigh.