Sunday, January 19, 2014

Game 47: Buffalo

The Columbus Blue Jackets waded into their Eastern Conference tilt with the Buffalo Sabres last night, but Buffalo came in skating hard like a team with pride and little to lose.  While the Jackets gave up two quick goals to Buffalo, they got their legs going, skated hard, and equalized the score at the end of the first period.  The CBJ almost made a second period goal stand up as the winner, but lost the lead late in the third period when Buffalo came out 6 on 4 and tied the game.  After a wide open overtime, the game went to a shootout, in which Ryan Johansen scored the only goal with a really sick move on Ryan Miller and secured the win for the CBJ.  A game in which they did not play well for stretches, yet played well enough to come away with the win and the coveted 2 points.  Their sixth consecutive win apparently ties a franchise record set in 2006 according to the Fox Sports crew.  Sweet.  So let's run through a six pack!

1.  My first cold, frosty brew goes to scoring depth.  After the first Buffalo goal I started thinking that it would be very plausible for the CBJ to hang up some goals and not have any of the guys who scored against Washington get a goal.  Sure enough, Savard, Calvert, and Dubinsky all scored, to complement the scoring of Atkinson, Wisniewski, Johansen and Letestu the night before.  Dubinsky's goal was his 10th of the year, making him the 6th player in double figures for goals.  I love scoring depth, because it is leading to wins.

2.  My second, ice cold, yummy, CBJ beer goes to Ryan Johansen.  Not really for the shoot out goal that won the game, but more for the dominant shifts his line turned in during the third period.  Although they didn't solve Ryan Miller, the Sabres goal tender, they kept the third period ice tilted in our favor for a lot of the period.  And then of course, there was the shoot out winner.  Nice game by Johansen.

3.  My third CBJ beer of the night goes to R.J. Umberger.  Umberger still has the 'manos de piedra', but he is skating at a clip that we have not seen for many years.  His off season decision to take off some weight has payed dividends, and he is skating really well, and disrupting other teams efforts to bring the puck up the ice. R.J. didn't show up on the score sheet, but the shifts that he, Johansen, and Nick Foligno turned in during the third period were epic.  When you possess the puck for long stretches in the other teams zone, they can't shoot at your goal tender.  And I noticed that while Buffalo was getting shots off on Bobrovsky from the doorstep in the first period, they tended to be from the top of the face off circles in the third period.  I think that means that Buffalo had to work so hard to get it out of their zone that they had nothing left when they got to the offensive zone.  Watch to see if we don't have this problem against L.A. on Tuesday.

R.J. is playing really well.  Please keep it up, we like that.

4.  My fourth cold CBJ beer goes to Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bob didn't have real great numbers in this game, but he actually played really well, keeping the CBJ in the game in the first period, and calmly sealing the two points in the shoot out.  His first back to back since his injury, he seemed to have done pretty well.  He made some really great saves to keep the Jackets in the game after they tied it at two.  We are seeing Vezina form Bob, and that's a great thing to see right now.  Well done Bob!

5.  My fifth, smooth, fulfilling CBJ beer goes to Todd Richards, for not being content, and wanting to be in the playoffs.  Richie has his detractors, as do we all, but he seems to be doing a really nice job with the team.  Congratulations on that 300th game coach, and I hope things continue to build for you this year.  How about we knock that NHL playoff goose-egg off your record this year?  What do ya think?

6.  My sixth CBJ beer goes to Matt Calvert, for getting on the board in the first period and tying the game.  I'm happy to see Matt's hustle being rewarded.  The Atkinson-Dubinsky-Calvert line is extremely disruptive to other teams, creating turnovers all up and down the ice.  It's nice to see that line showing up in the scoring, as all three of the players have potential to put it into the net.

A big, big road win.  The Rangers and Philly both won last night, so all we did was keep pace with third in the Metro remaining 5 points out.  Still lots of work to do.  But the wild card spot is a mere 2 points away, the Metro having reclaimed its spot from the Atlantic.

The LA Kings come to town on Tuesday, a weighty, heavy team, that just finished shoving Hitch's boys in St. Louis around.  We are going to have to have a top notch game to get one against them.  It ought to be a fun game.  Sometimes these week night games have kind of a small turn out, but with a team like LA, you don't get lot's of opposing fans, and you tend to have the die hard fans in the crowd, and the smaller crowd can get pretty loud.  Think about coming down and getting loud.  It will be a lot of fun!

GO JACKETS!!

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