Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Knock You Down, I Take Your Puck, and I Score a Goal

Scott Hartnell checks lead to goals 2 and 3.
This was a game Ken Hitchcock would have loved.  Lots of texture.  It wasn't a 'hitting' game, with wild, big hits, but it was a very physical checking game.  In stark contrast to the first 7 games, the Blue Jackets resolutely refused to give New Jersey time and space, in spite of what Coach Tortorella described as 'heavy legs' in his post game interview.

The Blue Jackets were explosive tonight when they finally found a crack in the Devils' armor, and they did it by maintaining a high level of physical play.  This, my friends, is what Blue Jackets hockey looks like.  I'm happy for the team that they can find this.  Over the last two years this team has shown a tendency to be streaky.  All Tortorella needs to do is rein in the losing streaks, and these guys will be okay.

Two big road wins, as the team gathers itself after a very rough start.  I highly recommend you seek out and watch Coach Tortorella's press conference, as it is informative and entertaining.  I would think the CBJ would have it posted soon.  Anyhow, the coach takes the blame for the heavy legs and credits the team for battling through it.  The team certainly battled, but whether the legs were because of the onslaught New Jersey hurled at the players or because of the coach remains to be debated.  New Jersey was the home team, with a four game winning streak.  I thought they had a lot to say about the play, especially in the first half of the first period.  But the Jackets just pinned their ears back, and battled, and I think you really have to like that.

In spite of a raging text message debate as to whether the Jackets would break 10 shots, they established their forecheck in the third period, and finally cracked a darn good New Jersey defense for a goal with 9:03 gone in the third, when Boone Jenner jumps a rebound and pumps it home past Schneider, with assists to Clarkson and Campbell.  Thirty seconds later Scott Hartnell lays a solid and effective check behind the net, the puck comes out to Dubinsky, who finds Atkinson crashing the net, and in 35 seconds the Jackets suddenly lead 2-0.

Five minutes later, New Jersey swings the puck from behind their net out to the half-wall, and Scott Hartnell knocks down the New Jersey player, skates away with the puck, then scores on Schneider all in one play to give the Jackets a 3-0 lead.

With 2:28 remaining, the Jackets make a tentative line change on the penalty kill, and with their goalie pulled, New Jersey scores on the 6 on 4.  But that was the end of the heroics, and the Jackets took away a hard fought 3-1 win.

Bobrovsky made one really unbelievable play, and several other really solid stops, that will help him to settle down and be Bob the rest of the way.

Tortorella has the whole team playing better, and I think he's just getting started.  Cool stuff.

Two game winning streak.  Make it an 8 game streak, and put us back in this thing, eh?


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