Sunday, March 30, 2014

20 and 30 for 2

Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime to capture two critical points in the Metropolitan Division Wild Card Race.  In a game where the CBJ counter-punched effectively, they never had a lead until the winning goal.  But when they did allow a goal, they promptly came back and tied the game.  The first huge mountain they climbed was to get the one point in the regulation tie.  The second mountain was to follow that up with another goal to get the available 2 points, on a really nice feed from Artem Anisimov to Ryan Johansen rumbling up the slot.  Joey made it count, and our sights turn to a red hot Avalanche club coming to Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

1.  My first CBJ beer of the night goes to Ryan Johansen, who scored the game winning tally, and more importantly, became the third 30 goal scorer in Blue Jackets history, joining Rick Nash and Geoff Sanderson.  That's just a really cool thing for Joey.  The scene of the team mobbing him after the goal is just classic stuff.  I swear Dubinsky was off the bench in a millisecond.  He just sort of levitates out to the ice to lead the charge in mobbing Johansen.  Awesome stuff there.  Joey is still learning and growing which is really impressive.  He made a move sequence last night to escape trouble that was really nifty last night, but came around the net and didn't know what to do with the puck, and ended up turning it over.  He did that same thing earlier in the week, in the Detroit game I believe, and they came down and put the puck in our net.  But my point is that he is showing he is learning to use his considerable ability, and if he keeps doing that he will have enough experience with it to do something at the end of those moves.  At a stab at a poor analogy, I'd say he's like a young chess master who can only thing 3 moves ahead, but with experience he will be able to think 5 moves ahead.  Or something like that.  Anyway, it has been really fun watching Johansen develop this year, right in front of our eyes.  Congratulations Ryan!

2.  My second CBJ beer goes to Artem Anisimov, who had a goal, and the game winning assist tonight.  In addition, the goal was his 20th of the year.  Arty is having a very good year, reaching the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career.  This should give him a lot of confidence going down the stretch run.  Really nice work there Arty!

This makes the fifth time the CBJ have had a 30 goal scorer and a 20 goal scorer (00-01, 03-04, 07-08, 10-11, 11-12).  Four other times the CBJ have had a thirty goal scorer and more than one 20 goal scorer.  In the playoff year, it was Nash with 40, Umberger with 26, and Huselius with 31.  The year with the most scorers was 2009-10, where Vermette added 27 to Nash, Umby, and Juice.  The reason I bring this up, is we have 3 more players within 2 goals of scoring 20, Foligno, Atkinson, and Umberger.   Needless to say if all three of those can get over that hump it is going to help our playoff chances.

3  My third CBJ beer goes to Curtis McElhinney, for picking up a huge win last night.  I think he is looking really sharp right now, and once again playing well while Bob has been down with the flu.  Finishing off the Detroit game with a win, looking sharp except for a bit of a blip in the third period against the Pens, and looking sharp and back stopping the team to a win last night.  A quality stretch of net minding for CMac.  Well done.  He needs one, maybe two more wins on back to back nights here down the stretch and it will really serve the team well.  A great job by McElhinney this year, in a very difficult role.  Note only that, but his play has seemed to improve as the year has gone on.

4.  My fourth CBJ beer goes to Matt Calvert, for getting that all important first goal just over 2 minutes after Carolina had taken a 1-0 lead.  He came off the boards, intercepted a pass, turned and put it in all in one motion.  If Matt Calvert can get hot down the stretch that would really help our chances a lot.  Nice work there Matt!

5.  My fifth CBJ beer goes to Todd Richards, who seems to be handling this team well down the stretch.  Another scratch of Umby huh?  I guess you don't want him taking anything for granted.  If Umby can pot two more goals down the stretch, he'll be back to the 20 goal plateau.  If Umby can pot two more goals in the next 8 games it is going to help our playoff chances a lot.  Keep 'em going Richie!

6.  My sixth CBJ beer goes to us the fans, and to the CBJ players and coaches.  The agony and the ecstasy of a playoff run makes for an intense focus, and lots of scoreboard watching.  This is what it is all about.  This has been a really fun season, though the ending has yet to be scripted.  And it doesn't look any easier from here.

The CBJ sit in the first Wild Card slot, tied with Detroit at 82 points.  The other challengers are two points back.  I think the Flyers and Ranges have salted in the second and third spots of the Metropolitan at this point.

Remaining games - Avs, Flyers, Hawks, Islanders,Yotes, Stars, Bolts, Panthers.  This isn't an easy run by any stretch.


1 comment:

  1. Avs-Flyers-Hawks sounds tough - and playing those teams makes it feel like the playoffs, so it should be some great games...the Avs look good this year, and have a good chance to get to the big dance...earlier this year (actually Dec 31 2013), they beat us by going 3-3 on the power play, and the Jackets lost 5-3...their power play is still very good (20%) and their PK is not so hot, so I'm guessing special teams will be a factor for April Fools Eve...
    The bright spot: the Jackets are 10 and 4 this year against their remaining opponents...