Sunday, November 7, 2010

Game 13/Minnesota: My Take

The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the somewhat-tired Minnesota Wild at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night, carried the play for a good portion of the game, let the Wild hang around and lost, 3-2.

Color me mildly disappointed.

Sure, the Blue Jackets had their moments.  In fact, the first line combined for yet another eye-popping goal:

4th liner Kyle Wilson also had a great goal as well.  And the Jackets are setting up on 5-on-5 like they were on a power play - something that I still shake my head and can't believe is happening, here, in Columbus.

The defense is largely looking stout.  I really don't have anything to complain about on that front.

Problem is, Minnesota has figured out how to put together an effective power play and took Mathieu Garon for two goals on special teams.  Quite frankly, the Wild didn't have a lot else going for them.

But Cal Clutterbuck had a good hit and quickly rebounded himself off the glass to drop a shot in past Garon...and that was the game.

Derick Brassard is probably getting used to watching 
his own highlights, seeing as he's amassed
eight points in the last seven games.  

(Flickr photo by Danielle Browne)
It was strange, the Blue Jackets seemed somewhat deflated after that goal - which was at the 10:31 point of the 3rd period.  With over nine minutes to go, the Boys in Union Blue didn't seem to have the drive to put themselves back into the game, let alone put Minnesota back in the world of bag-skate readiness.  I'll grant that they had a decent 6-on-5 empty net rush with just over a minute left, but it was one shot and...that was that.

(By the way, what is with the Nationwide Ice?  Something ain't right there.  The puck was doing some really strange things last night.)

I'm finding that my relatively newfound perspective of breaking the season down into eight-game sequences is helping me keep a more even keel through disappointments like this.  The Blue Jackets already have six points in this sequence that started with Edmonton (wins over the Oilers, Canadiens and Thrashers).  To keep on what I consider to be a playoff pace, they need at least three points against St. Louis (home), Colorado (home) and Los Angeles (away).  Not easy, but not impossible.  It sure would have been easier to get the win against the Wild and then find one point against the final three, but the Blue Jackets are not yet a team to win their "should win" games with the consistency.  So they'll go the hard way and pleasantly surprise us.  That's OK.

Next up: Wednesday night at Nationwide against St. Louis.  I've been watching the Blues from afar and, from what little I can see, they seem to be getting their act together.  (It also helps that they have Jaroslav Halak, he of "I took the Canadiens on my shoulders all the way to the conference finals" fame, in goal.)  I expect one helluva game.

For what it's worth, the Blue Jackets are entering a bit of a murderer's row from a schedule point of view.  St. Louis, Colorado, L.A., Anaheim, San Jose and Nashville.  All tough Western Conference teams, with three of those games (L.A. through San Jose) on the road.  The top team in the West, the top team in the Central and no team worse than three points out of the eighth playoff spot.  Ouch.

Let's hope that the Blue Jackets can brush off last night's loss, build upon recent successes and raise their game over the next few weeks.  In my opinion, they still need to prove to the league - and themselves - that they are a true playoff-worthy team.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! Did you see where Tampa Bay just got off that same western road swing and went ohfer againast the Sharks, Ducks and Kings. Welcome to a real Western Conference Road trip. I guess we'll find out a lot about the team over the next 5 games.

    All in all it was a good game to go to, lots of action and fun, we just didn't win.


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