Saturday, January 7, 2012

DBJ's 5 Thoughts about Game 40, LA Kings

Curtis Sanford, with the Shut Out against LA
1. Curtis Sanford - Sanford pitches his first shut out as a Columbus Blue Jacket.  He was very, very solid tonight, as well as the defense in front of him.  Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is playing as well as any goal tender in the NHL right now.  The Jackets staked Sanford to a goal, and he made it stand up.  An outstanding effort.

2. No Rebounds - Sanford is obviously very much a part of this win.  Against San Jose, he struggled with his rebound control.  Not tonight, he swallowed every puck that came his way.  Excellent rebound control makes your D in front of you look really good.

3. Solid Team Defense - Honestly, I didn't think Scott Arniel could coach a game like this.  Props to him, and a very good job by the CBJ playing solid team defense.  I thought the pairing of Nikita Nikitin and Fedor Tyutin was very solid.  Savard and Moore had a couple of kinda shaky moments, but by and large played well.  Clitsome of course got the winner, and Methot played a solid game.  The forwards were blocking shots along with the D-men, and combined with Sanford's rebound control, the D looked really solid.  They were winning board battles all night, and you coulda sworn it was a Hitchcock team.  Well done boys!

4. Physical Play - The LA Kings brought a very physical game to bear, and the CBJ seemed unperturbed by the physicality of the game.  They gave back as they got, but more importantly, refused to let themselves be pushed out of the game.  The CBJ played a very mentally tough game tonite, refusing to wilt when things didn't go their way.

5. The Penalty Kill - yeah the LA Kings have the worst power play in the league, but they got the first 5 minutes of the third period on the power play, but the CBJ killed the penalties, including 38 seconds of 5 on 3, with an aggressive, shot blocking penalty kill.  A great team effort.

If the CBJ can start to replicate this type of defensive effort, they are going to find themselves in the position to win some games.  Tomorrow, the fight for the cellar in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks!


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