Saturday, December 14, 2013

So DBJ caught Game 33: St. Louis

St. Louis 4 - Columbus 3 (OT)
The Columbus Blue Jackets blew the doors off of the visiting St. Louis Blues in the first period with three unanswered goals but let off the gas as the game wore on, allowing the Blues to sneak by the CBJ, 4-3, in overtime at Nationwide Arena.

Morgan called it a Tale of three periods the other night, and I think that's apt tonight:
  • Period 1: Blue Jackets unleashed with goals by Tyutin, Anisimov and Johansen to negate the opening St. Louis goal.  Blues go into full-on goon mode, picking fights wherever they can.  I'll presume that was an attempt to change the momentum of the game.  
  • Period 2: Penalty-fest.  The refs clearly had enough of what they saw in the back part of the first and pulled their whistles out.  The Blue Jackets' momentum, which had stalled a tad toward the end of the first, never really got moving despite getting the shot count up.  Jaroslav Halak definitely recovered in full by this point, and the Blues' offense slowly caught up to their goaltender.
  • Period 3: Oh crap. Blue Jackets found themselves in a game with a team that could very well be in the Stanley Cup Finals.  They grabbed a couple breakaway shots but Halak was in full bloom by that point.  I would have been surprised if anything had gotten past Halak.  That said, the Blue Jackets went from designed "back door" setups in the first period to "one and done" shots.  
  • Overtime: Huh - wha? Blue Jackets came out flat - in line with the third period - and David Backes jumped on them.  Game, set, match.
Let's not make more out of it than it is.  Did the Blue Jackets squander their great first period?  Unquestionably, yes.  Did they give up two standings points to a Western Conference team?  Yes, and that matters not one single, solitary bit.  Did they still get a standings point?  Yes...and that's perhaps what's most important from this game.

Beyond that, the Blues ARE one of the league's top teams.  I talked all about that in this afternoon's "Before the Puck Drops" preview at FOX Sports Ohio.  They're perhaps the best team the CBJ have played all season, at least the equal of the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Boston Bruins.

I'm honestly pleased that the CBJ did as well as they did early in the game.  That part, to me, was what was unexpected.  (Well, that and the Blues gooning it up.  They haven't done that all too much under Ken Hitchcock.)

Ah well.  The Blue Jackets are in 4th in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind Carolina.  Would have been nice to be tied for third, but there's still time.

Here's the haiku:

Assaulted in the first
Hitch and Halak calm the Blues
Reset the game.  Sigh.

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