Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Game 57/Los Angeles: My Take

The streaking Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed the streaking Los Angeles Kings to Nationwide Arena tonight and, in the first playoff-caliber game in a long while, lost in the shootout to the Kings, 4-3.

I'm a tad under the weather and will keep this short.  Perhaps Gallos, who was on hand, could add some thoughts in the comments.  Everyone else, you're welcome to contribute as well.
  • Rick Nash is a man possessed.  He is pulling every string possible to will this team to win.  Tonight, it wasn't enough.  Other nights, it will be.  All I can say to the rest of the NHL is "He's Rick Nash - and you're not."  
  • R.J. Umberger left the ice injured (a knee/leg on knee/leg hit), came back, and threw his body around like he was the only Blue Jacket on the ice.  Whereas Nash was flying high based upon skill, Umberger was on sheer will and guts.  Helluva combination.
  • Derick Brassard apparently is hurt with a hand injury.  Could be out for a while.  It'll be interesting to see where Howson goes to fill that roster slot.  Might he dig down as far as Portland of the WHL and grab Ryan Johansen?
  • The CBJ couldn't get a goal out of a nearly two full minute 5-on-3 power play.  Such frustration.  Sure, they were pretty, but the puck needs to meet twine in situations like that.
  • Derek Mackenzie made the most of his (temporary?) promotion to the Nash-Voracek top line.  He was really quite good, reminiscent of Manny Malhotra in that he was playing over his head and not looking THAT out of place.  Some nice feeds, a couple assists if memory serves correct.  Wonder what Antoine Vermette was thinking when Arniel gave DMac the battlefield promotion?
  • Mathieu Garon again proved that he is a serviceable backup goaltender.  Not much more.
  • Lots of Big Game Noise from the Nationwide crowd.  Really nice to hear on TV.  Hats off to everyone in attendance for bringing their "A" games - including the Arch City Army. 
  • The Kris Russell goal to end regulation was huge - MASSIVE, to borrow the Columbus Crew phrase - as far as keeping the CBJ season afloat.  Take a look at this screen capture from Sports Club Stats to see why:

Let's analyze this. The Blue Jackets started the night with a 10.6% chance of making the playoffs.  Not too promising, granted, but still technically alive.  Of course we wanted to see the CBJ win - that would have pushed Columbus almost to 15%.  A loss in regulation would have dropped the CBJ's chances down to 7%.  

But look closer.  When Russell dropped that goal in at the end of the 3rd, we went from a nightmare scenario where Columbus would have lost 3.6% to the eventual loss of "only" 1.0%.  And when you're down in the 10-ish percent range, the two-and-a-half points that Russell salvaged becomes really, really important.  Not to mention that his goal kept the chance of a 3.7% jump alive had the Blue Jackets won in OT or the shootout.  

So not the banner night that we all wanted, but not the end of the world.  And one helluva game.  

NEXT UP: Friday night in Chicago.  Columbus is still JUST behind the Blackhawks in the standings...this will be yet another Big Game.  


  1. TheClevelandHockey(CAVALIERS!!!!)February 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    This is awesome. The Monsters are in the thick of the AHL Playoffs and the Jackets are threatening. That game was gonna give me a heart attack.

  2. I yelled so loud when Russel scored I'm pretty sure I scared the neighbors.

    Gotta wonder if Brass is out for a while if this forces Howson to get a top 6 from someone else. Or does Calvert go up to full time top 6?

    Johansen coming up would kinda blow my mind.

  3. I have no doubt that Howson will........

    Do nothing at all and will "promote from within". Hey he still thinks the team is good enough to make the playoffs since he has done absolutely nothing to improve us.

  4. Good Post DBJ -
    I think the only thing I would add is that I really liked the level of resolve and mental toughness the team showed. They had guys out, and a red hot opponent, and they just got down and got it done. The air went out a bit when the third goals was scored by LA, but they gathered themselves quickly. If they should make the playoffs (they will go down swinging if they don't) this bodes well for their chances, because the playoffs are about facing adversity.

    I was disappointed at first when leaving the barn, but on mature consideration a last minute comeback to snatch a point is as good an outcome as we could have hoped for. So they done good.


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