Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game 5/Anaheim: My take

(Yeah, I went there with the graphic.  It was either that or George Parros' mustache.)

In an oddly satisfying game, a banged-up Columbus Blue Jackets squad beat a banged-up Anaheim Ducks squad, 3-1, in regulation.  The CBJ could reasonably be expected to beat the Ducks.  The JacketsBlog called it a "must win," an assertion with which I initially agreed until The Hockey Writers' Jeff Little tempered the language to be a "should win."  "Should win" -- I like that.

The CBJ should have won tonight's game, and they did.

While Rick Nash scored two goals, one an empty-netter, and showed signs that the summer hibernation is over, the offensive star of the game was Derek Mackenzie.  I mean, look at his goal, which got things going for the CBJ:



Mackenzie's clearly not the most talented guy on the team.  He's not the fastest.  But he plays with a passion - desperation, perhaps? - that endears guys like Mike Blunden, Grant Clitsome and the other AHL call-ups to the Columbus fan base.  Except for D-Mac, this isn't a short-term stay.  He made the roster, and now he's playing like he never wants to go back to the minors.  Good for him, I say.  

Steve Mason stopped 31 of 32 (.969 save percentage - not shabby!) without the benefit of Kris Russell or Anton Stralman (or Mike Commodore, who's now on injured reserve) on the blue line.  Yet he won't say that he's overcome last year's slump.  Again, good for him.  

At 24:39 TOI, Marc Methot led the entire Blue Jackets roster and wins the extra five minutes in the hot tub. There's so much more I want to write on Methot...for now, let's just say that he appeared to play a good game - and with some confidence out there.  Good for Marc.  

The game got flaky in the 3rd period.  Ethan Moreau's broken hand in the second period sent the lineup into chaos, and Anaheim's steady hands like Getzlaf, Selanne, Ryan and Perry took the game to us for most of the period.  It made the end of the game a nailbiter (and gave Scott Arniel tons of video to use "for instructional purposes"), but Nash's empty-netter set the arena at ease. 

I'd add a comment about our power play, but that doesn't exist right now.

Regardless, our boys in Union Blue should have won the game tonight.  And they did.

Next up: Calgary comes to Nationwide Boulevard on Friday night.  Got your tickets yet?

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