Sunday, December 7, 2014

Two Shutouts - One Preserved

It was a big night for Columbus last night.  The Columbus Blue Jackets and their sterling goal tender, Sergei Bobrovsky, carried a shutout into the final minutes of their tilt with the Eastern Conference Leading Tampa Bay Lightning.  On the other channel, the Ohio State Buckeye football team preserved its shutout of Wisconsin to earn a Big Ten Football Championship.  Good stuff on, and good story lines on both fronts.

But this is a hockey blog, so we'll return to the fastest game on earth.  Last night the Blue Jackets prevailed over the Bolts 3-1, in a game that wasn't that close.  The Blue Jackets skated with purpose, finally worked their forecheck hard for 57 minutes, and consequently dictated the pace of the game.  Surprisingly, the CBJ looked like the faster team last night, as Tampa Bay has abundant speed.  Once Tampa pulled Bishop, the CBJ kind of sat back, couldn't hit the empty net, and Tampa was able to break the shut out.  But it wasn't really that close.

Head Coach Todd Richards juggled his lines significantly.  Erixon and Tropp were both back into the lineup, and Nick Foligno was moved to center of the top line.  Ryan Johansen was dropped to center the third line with Kerby Rychal and Jack Skille, giving him plenty of speed and grit on his wings.  HCTR has had some issues with Joey's play, but part of this move I think was to create match-up difficulties for Tampa Bay, which seemed to be a successful strategy.  When the CBJ were at their best last year, they were rolling 3 'second' lines, and somewhere in there you get a match-up advantage.

The addition of Gibbons to the Foligno, Hartnell line gave that line a burst of speed, and Jenner's line with Calvert and Atkinson seems to be really settling in as an effective line.  They gave Tampa fits last night, with Jenner scoring the first goal on a rather improbable shot.  Most importantly though, they kept their feet moving, and got back to playing "Blue Jackets Hockey".  It was a good thing to see, and they were rewarded with their third straight win.

Finally, there is Sergei Bobrovsky.  He has been extremely sharp these last two games, flashing his Vezina form.  If he stays healthy, and plays this way, the CBJ are going to win some games.  Personally, I think <McDavid> they have dug a pretty deep hole <Eichel> to climb out of, but I don't think the players are listening to my subliminal <McDavid> advertising <Eichel>.  Today they sit 8 points out of third place in the Metro with 3 and a half months of hockey left to play.  If they make it interesting down the stretch, I will be content.  They weren't gonna win the damn <McDavid> lottery <Eichel> anyway.


1 comment:

  1. The Jackets aren't a Canadian team or a franchise in desperate need( read Chicago/Pittsburgh) of saving. Therefore you are correct, they would not win a lottery draw, weighted or not. As for the "generational talent" a certain publication continues to fawn over; allow me to say we've had enough D**n losing in this franchise. The current management has worked hard to get rid of the countryclub atmosphere that permeated Nationwide. If the Jackets play well enough to be in contention, but fall short, so be it. If they make the play-offs, anything can happen. This team has quality minor league players who are currently showing what they are and aren't yet able to do. As for the draft, let the oilers draft first again and see how long it takes for ANOTHER can't-miss prospect to wither on the vines.