Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pushing, Being Pushed, Hanging on for Thirteen in a Row

Matt Calvert Scored a Critical Goal
It all started with a cross check/boarding on Scott Hartnell that wasn't called after 2 minutes had gone by in the first period.  Hartnell laid there, unsuccessfully trying to draw the call.  He got up and started slowly up the ice.  Meanwhile, out by the blue line, his line mates had conspired to thwart Boston's breakout, and Lucas Sedlak walked the blue line and kept the puck in the offensive zone.  This put Hartnell in front of the play, on the door step of the goal, instead of behind the play, and Sedlak hit him for the easy goal.

Five minutes later, with the Blue Jackets power play expired, Hartnell laid a bunny pass out to Seth Jones from behind the net, and the big defenseman leaned into it for the second goal.  Less than a minute later, Matt Calvert intercepted a break out pass from Boston, charged the net, shot, collected his own rebound and shot again for the third goal.  Before 10 minutes had gone by, the Jackets had a handy 3 goal lead, and the third consecutive sellout crowd was rocking.

This, it seems, annoyed Boston.  And they pushed back hard.  Before three more minutes had passed, Boston had scored two goals to bring the score to 3-2 with 8 minutes remaining in the first period.  The Blue Jackets rallied to stop the bleeding, but the majority of the next 30 minutes of hockey were dominated by Boston, and the doubled up the Blue Jackets on shots on goal.  Finally, late in the second period, Boston scored to tie the game, and the teams entered the third period with the score knotted at 3 goals apiece.

In the third period the game tightened up, and the Blue Jackets finally broke through when Nick Foligno scored a power play tally of the greasiest variety, whacking twice at the puck to bounce it over Rask's goalie pads and into the net.  Then the Jackets tightened up their play, effectively killed a late penalty, survived the 6 on 5 with the goal tender pulled and salted away their thirteenth win in a row.  It warn't a purty one, but two more points in the bank.

After the game the coach opined that the game film would be burned, and that they needed to move on.  I think he has the right of it.  The only teachable thing would be to point out that they gathered themselves and held on under adversity.  They had difficulty dealing with Boston's size and strength, but the stuck with it, buckled down, and fought their way through it.  The combination of the power play and Bobrovsky sealed the win, and now they go to Winnipeg.

Forty-nine games left to play.  Fifty-two points in the bank.  At this point Tortorella is right, is all they should be concentrating on is how well they play their game, and let the wins and losses sort themselves out down the stretch.  The CBJ keep their hold on first place for another day, and move on.

It was totally awesome to see the full barn tonight.  There was a really great turn out, and better yet, the Jackets won.  So the Jackets finish their 2016-17 series with Boston, losing 2 games to 1.  It will be good to not have to play them down the stretch.  We have plenty of other Metro games coming up.  But for now, out west, and Winnipeg, and then Minnesota, who has a 10 game win streak of their own.  There will be fun hockey to watch!!


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