|Columbus 3 - Montreal 2 (shootout)|
8-16-3, 5th in Central Division, Tied for 14th in Western Conference
1. Climbing out of the sub-basement - The glacially slow recovery from the disastrous start to the season continues, with the Jackets grabbing four out of a possible eight standings points on this roadie. The 14th place Anaheim Ducks are in the first period with the LA Kings as I type, but the CBJ now have 19 points...putting them in a tie with Anaheim for 14th. To the best of my knowledge, the Jackets haven't been out of 15th place since Game 4.
2a. MADDENING QUESTION: What is it about the 19th minute? - Montreal's two scores came deep into the final minute of the first and third period. Simply put, the Blue Jackets collectively let up going into the intermission. As such, the game never would have gone into overtime had the CBJ played through to the end of the period.
2b. MADDENING QUESTION: What exactly do they do in practice? - I was stunned at the number of fantastic breakaway opportunities that couldn't finish. Beautiful pass, beautiful pass....whiff. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Mind you, most of those involved...
3. Mr. Glass - In his second game back after returning from long-term injured reserve, Kristian Huselius left the game with a lower body injury (apparently a groin injury). And while I never wish injury or illness upon anyone, I'm glad that he left the game because it was increasingly clear that Juice had next to no game sense. He was missing passes, missed shots...just looked out of sync with the NHL game. In my opinion, he needed some rehab time in Springfield. Scott Arniel, who apparently was pushing Huselius to return, felt otherwise.
4. One sweet shot - Rick Nash had the game winner in the shootout - the only score in the skills competition - and it was gorgeous. (When/if the Blue Jackets load the shot into their embeddable viewer, I'll update and post.) I've been very frustrated with Nash's play this season - he's not coming close to the level of performance that one should deliver when they're singlehandedly eating up $7.8 million of the team's payroll - but you have to give credit when credit is due. That was a great goal at a great point in time.
5. Enter Sandman - Curtis Sanford probably still isn't the answer for any extended period of time, and it's downright scary to keep trotting him out there game after game (this was his 10th straight, I believe), but he looked darned good tonight. Sanford is playing with a degree of confidence and maturity, and the team is doing its darndest to keep pace.
NEXT UP: Thursday night, 7PM, at Nationwide against Nashville. Bring your mustard bottles...