Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game 9/Edmonton: My take

The Columbus Blue Jackets fended off the Edmonton Oilers and a handful of squirrelly referees to take the game, 3-2, in an overtime shootout.

Rick Nash and Nikita Filatov scored on the only two shots needed in the shootout (Steve Mason turned aside the first Edmonton shot, and the second shot pinged off the side-bar.)  Nash coming up big in the shootout is something that CBJ fans are accustomed to, but the Filatov game-winner is special.

Nikita Filatov must be able to feel like he can smile again -
for the first time in a while.  (Flickr photo by OhioFamily)
Just yesterday, DBT and I watched Filatov cleaning up pucks after practice.  It seemed humiliating, watching him schlepping a five-gallon bucket around the ice.  He was not looking chipper.  Surely, it was not the highlight of his time in professional hockey.  So to see him put in a position to win the game, and then win it - you could see the stress melt away for just a moment.  Good for him.  It's a needed confidence boost for a talented young player.  Let's hope he keeps building momentum, both on the ice and in his head.

Mase is looking tough once again.
(Flickr photo by Dylan Moody)
In other news, Steve Mason turned away 24 of 26 (a respectable .923 save percentage) and made a couple dynamite saves in the process.  He won't be perfect every night, but it's safe to say that, yeah, he's back.

Now, let's ask the first tough question: How in the world did the CBJ let the Oilers thug them around all night long?  I cannot recall a game where our boys were tossed around like rag dolls more than this one.  Especially being thrown into the goalie (and then collecting an interference call...silly).  The answer to crap play like that is to take advantage of the power play.  You foul me, I score a goal.  You foul me again, I score another goal.  If you actually do that - you know, score goals on power plays - the other team eventually stops thugging you.  But we didn't (0 for 8 on the power play tonight), and they didn't.

Going a little further on this front, can someone try to answer the question of why the Jackets so willingly play down to the level of bad opponents?  The Oilers entered the game 2-4-1.  They are chock-filled with kids who can't legally drink.  They had no business being in the game, yet the Jackets decided to play like them instead of put them away.  Baffling and frustrating.  And an on-ice performance that won't have fans clamoring to buy tickets.

Nick Holden: CBJ Ironman
(Flickr photo by Elise Michelle)
The second tough question: Where the hell did these refs come from, and who put stale candy corn and crushed Smarties in their bags on "Beggars' Night"? (I HATE that label, but that's a different story.)  These guys were LOUSY.  I might not know the game inside and out, but even I saw some calls that were head-scratchers.

Oh, psssst: Chris Clark leads the team in season-to-date points with 6 after nabbing 2 more assists tonight.  Go figure.

Second pssst: Nick Holden led the CBJ in time on ice tonight.  Yeah, AHL call-up Nick Holden.  Go figure.

Third pssst: With two goals, Kyle Wilson is hot on the tails of only Umberger, Nash and Huselius for most goals scored by a CBJ player.  Go figure.

Anyway, a win is a win is a win.  We got the 2 points, giving us 12 so far this season.  This is a terrific opening pace for the Columbus Blue Jackets, keeping them safely above the playoff qualifying line for the Western Conference for the time being.  There certainly was a lot for Scott Arniel and his coaching staff to harp on teach with from this game, but teaching is always easier coming off a victory.

But none of the above is important.  Taylor Hall got his first NHL goal!  

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, the officiating was truly strange. Fortunately I was on hand to let them know just what I thought of it, which means my co-workers will be blessed by me not being able to talk today. That said, sure wish Jake would shoot the puck. And if the crowd was sparse, I'll bet it was better than what they feared. Still a lot of work ahead for this team, as we were in this position last year. After X-mas we'll know something.


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