|Chicago 4 - Columbus 3 (OT)|
5-12-4, last in the West. first in 1 goal losses
Before we start throwing beers around, I'd like to thank DBJ for the privilege of subbing in to do the Six Pack for this game. Also, I'd like to point out that I didn't just bring any old six pack with me for this gig. I brought an assortment of beers that I hand picked for the occasion. OK, fire up the beer cannon.
1) This first beer is a bottle of Blue Moon Vintage Blonde and it goes to Vinny Prospal. Vinny put the Jackets up 1-0 a mere 31 seconds into the game for his 250th career NHL goal. It also moved him to within four of 750 career points. The goal gave the young (and getting younger) Blue Jackets a big confidence boost that would carry them well into the second period.
2) The second beer is a bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale and it goes to Ryan Johansen. Joey got off the shneid big time by scoring the Jackets 3rd goal to tie it up 3-3 at 12:23 in the third period, taking a nice feed by Foligno and beating Ray Emery with a nifty move and a backhand roof job. It was Johansen's first goal in a year. I'll drink to that.
3) The third beer is a growler of Brass Knuckle American Pale Ale by Four String Brewing (from right here in Columbus, Ohio) and it goes to Nikita Nikitin. After Fedor Tyutin got dusted by Dan Carcillo on a questionable open-ice hit, Nikitin challenged Carcillo and Carcillo obliged. Considering it was Nikki6's first ever NHL tussle, he more than held his own. That showed a lot of character, and don't forget that there are a lot of young guys on this team watching and taking cues from the veterans. It doesn't quite make up for the turnover on the blue line that Nikki coughed up to give Bryan Bickell an unassisted goal that put the Blackhawks up 3-2, but Tyutin set it up with a ridiculously ill-advised pass. Toots, where's the love?
4) The fourth beer is a bottle of Truth, Justice and the American Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Company and it goes to Artem Anisimov. Artey returned to the lineup after suffering a scary head injury against Detroit on February 21. At 12:42 in the second, he scored the Jackets' second goal with a slapshot from 50 feet out along the right boards that was redirected off the leg of Carcillo. Given that it looked like Carcillo left his feet when he blew up Tyutin, but didn't draw a call, it was somewhat karmic. Justice served.
5) The fifth beer is a bottle of Hocus Pocus by Magic Hat Brewery and it will have to be shared by the Blue Jackets d-men. Five is also the number of blueliners that the Jackets had on hand to start the game. After John Moore was hit by the upper body injury virus during the morning skate, the Jackets scrambled to get Dalton Prout from Springfield to Chicago. Prout made it to United Center midway through the first period. That left the Blue Jackets leaning on Tyutin, Nikitin, Aucoin and two guys with a combined 36 games of NHL experience: - Tim Erixon (30 games) and Cody Goloubef (6 games) - to start the contest. Prout would end up tallying close to nine minutes, and Goloubef a little over 12. The three (remaining) horsemen and Erixon racked up 105 minutes between them. All things considered, giving up three regulation goals to the Hawks on the road with the d-corp the Jackets had to go with was like some kind of magic trick.
6) The sixth beer is a bottle of Ruination IPA by Stone Brewing and it goes to Steve Mason. Steve "The Artist Formerly Known as Stone" Mason actually played a great game for the most part. If not for some incredible saves (and some friendly posts), the Hawks could have put up six or more on the Jackets. On the other hand, Mason flubbed a wide angle shot by Patrick Sharp, allowing the puck to bounce off his arm between his legs and into the net, only to be de-pantsed by Bickell a mere 59 seconds later (although Tyutin and Nikitin removed his belt and unzippered his fly on that one). And just like that, the Jackets' chances of pulling off the upset of the year were essentially ruined. Mase regained himself in the third period to keep the Jackets in it and ultimately earn a point. What happened to him in overtime was a ridiculous display of talent by Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook. We're not going to fault him for that one. Overall, Mason hung in there and deserved a better fate. And a beer.
Once again, the Blue Jackets showed grit, resiliency and heart. Once again, it was an entertaining game of hockey. Were the Blue Jackets outworked tonight? No way.
Next up: four straight (and nine out of the next ten) at Nationwide, starting with the Avalanche on Sunday.