Saturday, February 4, 2012

DBJ's 5 Thoughts on Game 52: Anaheim

Derick Brassard with the game winner!
Tonight, er, uh, this morning (Eastern Time) the Columbus Blue Jackets prevailed in overtime over the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on the strength of a Derick Brassard overtime goal.  The win definitely makes writing the re-cap easier, I've got to admit.

1. Typical West Coast Trip - The last time the Jackets visited Anaheim, Scott Arniel got fired following the game.  Probably a fitting end after his snide comment last year after the Jackets swept a West Coast trip, when Arniel said 'what have you guys been doing?'  Well, now you know coach.  Pride goeth before the fall.  Back to the present, after getting pushed off the ice by San Jose, Clock-Gate, when the L.A. Kings scoring at the 60:00:01.4 mark, this game looked like it was following a similar trend.  In spite of the ice, the breaks, and the officiating tilted against the CBJ, they managed to contain the damage, and keep the game close.

2. Power Play - Well I had a pretty good whiny rant in mind when I jotted down this note.  After the first period, the CBJ were 0-2 with 1 shot on the power play, having gone 5 games without scoring on the man advantage.  HOWEVER, with 2:05 gone in the third period, Jeff Carter scored a power play goal off a super sweet pass from Antoine Vermette to tie the game at 2-2.   That goal loomed huge later in the game.  Carter was engaged all night, and played a good game.

The Sand Man was very tough tonite
3. Curtis Sanford - The goal tender played very, very tough down the stretch.  He made some very big saves, and was 'tidy' around his crease, not giving up many rebounds.  Sanford's calm as the game wound down helps his teammates.

4. Going for the Win - The CBJ did a good job of going for the kill in the last 2 minutes of this game, instead of trying to sit back and preserve the tie.  The were aggressive where they could be, and played good defense down the stretch.  Again, the goal tender erased some of the mistakes.

5. More Defensive Injuries - Brett Lebda left the game at the end of the first period with an injured hand. That left the CBJ with 5 defensemen for the remainder of the game.  Balanced with that, is the continuing emergence of number 4, John Moore on defense.  Moore continues to play very, very well, and is starting to push towards being the best defenseman of the unit.  He is continuing to progress, and is responding to the situations he is being put into.  This is a very nice turn of events in what is otherwise a disastrous 2011-12 campaign.

Bonus Thought: Derick Brassard -  Brass scored two goals tonight.  He had a very solid game.  It looks like Brass is starting to skate with the puck the way he used to back in 2008-09, bringing the puck up the ice with authority, and a predatory air.  He is starting to shoot the puck, which is a good thing.  His battle level was called out by Coach Richards in the post game interview.  It is good to see him starting to emerge.  If Brass emerges from this season with a growing ability to take over games, it would be another positive by-product of a tough season.

Finishing the West Coast trip with a win is huge for the psyche of this team.  They were tough, and overcame many obstacles to achieve the win they deserved.  Well done lads!


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