|San Jose 2 - Columbus 1|
10-24-5, 5th in Central Division, 15th in Western Conference
In the first of a four game road trip out west, the Blue Jackets lost to the San Jose Sharks by a score of 2-1 last night.
1. Dr. Jekkyl If you have watched the Blue Jackets at all this season, you are painfully aware of their propensity to go all Dr. Jekkyl and Mr Hyde on us. It usually happens in the third period. Last night it happened about 10 minutes into the game.
The Jackets took the ice and, as has often been the case, and as one might expect of a team coming off of a four day break, they looked explosive. They looked fast, fearless and frisky. San Jose couldn't match their energy and looked like a team that was on the second night of a back-to-back, which they were. The Blue Jackets scored their first goal of 2012 just 2:13 into the game when Antoine Vermette chased down a BIG rebound off of Shark's goalie Thomas Griesse (yet another backup) and found Mark Letestu behind the net, who quickly fed Vinnie Prospal with a slick behind the back pass. Prospal stuffed it home, 1-0 Jackets.
That pretty much covers the highlights, so if you want to end on a positive note you can stop reading now.
2. My Hyde The Blue Jackets took 7 out of the first 8 shots in the game and looked like they were in the middle of one of their lucid moments where they play like they know how to win. Then, at 9:48, Ryan Johansen took a double minor for high sticking. The Jackets killed the first 3:15 off the ensuing Sharks power play, but Ryan Clowe was allowed to roam pretty much unmolested near the crease late in the kill and it was inevitable that he would jump on a rebound at some point. He did.
It was a 1-1 hockey game. Not all that bad, right? But the Sharks have been struggling mightily on the power play and apparently all they needed was one goal to get their swagger back. The Sharks turned their intensity level up and the Jackets turned their's down. Over the next 10 minutes, the ugly Blue Jackets's twin showed up and, as Vinnie Prospal said to Natalie Taylor at the intermission, the Jackets "got dominated" after San Jose scored. The Sharks took 14 out of the last 17 shots in the first period.
3. Moment of Truth At 4:44 in the second period, Sanford gave up a bouncing rebound that hopped right onto Joe Thornton's stick. Thornton was (where else?) right in front of the crease. Big Joe put a bat on it and punched one through. 2-1 Sharks.
4. Turn It Back Up! The Jackets had to feel like they should have been down 3-1 after the first period, but instead found themselves down only a goal midway through the second. There was no cause for concern, other than the domination thing to which Prospal referred. The Jackets just needed to find the same intensity level they had in the first ten minutes, but they never did. Or could.
After taking their seventh shot midway through the first period, the Sharks outshot the Jackets 38 to 17 the rest of the game. Did the Jackets really come out with intensity to start the game or were the Sharks still tying up their laces? I'm going with the latter.
Another fun fact from this affair: the Blue Jackets never had a man advantage during the game. This might be a more telling sign of the team's lack of intensity than allowing the Sharks to more than double them up on shots.
5. Fred's Back Curtis Sanford made his first start since the December 22nd game in Nashville. The official reason for his extended Christmas vacation was that he was battling hip and back injuries. The unofficial reason, and one that could very easily be a figment of my imagination, is that he found himself with a shovel and bucket outside of Arniel's doghouse after the epic Nashville meltdown. Or maybe they just wanted to showcase Mason for awhile. That didn't go so well.
So Sanford's back and, for the most part, he played well, stopping 37 of 39. I would expect he starts on Saturday night against the Kings, with Mason taking the net against Anaheim on Sunday.