Saturday, March 12, 2011

Game 68: A Sense of Drama, CBJ 3 - Canes 2

The Columbus Blue Jackets broke their 7 game slide tonight in Carolina with a 3-2 win.  Steve Mason played much better tonight, he was tight an efficient for most of the game, and carried a shut-out late into the third period. 

Two blown face off plays lead to two late goals by the Hurricanes, providing some drama for the TV audience, but Derek MacKenzie potted the empty netter for his second goal of the night to salt the victory.

It was a very choppy game, with the CBJ being whistled for 9 penalties, with Derek Dorsett pushing it to double digits by collecting a stupid unsportsmanlike conduct.  The penalty kill was was stout, killing two extended 5 on 3 penalties.

In the first period, a hooking call on Hedjda set up the penalty kill for a shorty.  Kris Russell got possession and skated the puck up through the neutral zone, hit Dorsett with a pass, and Samuel Pahlsson potted the rebound for the first goal.  Three Carolina penalties ensued, but the power play failed to convert, and the CBJ went to the intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second period, Derek MacKenzie collected the puck in the neutral zone, skated it into Canes' territory, and got all of a bouncing puck to wire it past Cam Ward, the Carolina goal tender for the 2-0 lead.  After that both teams settled down to collecting various penalties.  As much as I sometimes feel critical of our power play, it seemed much better than Carolina's, which seemed to struggle generating sustained pressure.  Both goal tenders were the best penalty killer for their team.

At 9:16 in the third, a blown handling of the puck allowed Jeff Skinner to walk in alone on Mason, and he scored glove side with relative ease.  After that, the CBJ seemed to try to generate some pressure, and did so for short periods, but it seemed that Carolina carried the pressure late into the third.  With the goal tender pulled, MacKenzie potted his second goal for the 3-1 lead.  However Carolina didn't quit and Tummo Ruutu scored with 35 seconds left in the game to make it 3-2.  However the CBJ toughed it out for the win.

A big, big win for the team, to end a 7 game losing streak.  And Mason seemed to play much better tonight.  He was tighter, and more efficient, and repeatedly made first and second saves, especially during the 5 on 3 situations.  A very strong effort by Mason, marred a bit by some late goals.

Odd comment by Jeff Rimmer on the TV broadcast.  He noted that the goaltender coach, Rook was traveling with the team for this trip, and that seemed to help Mason.  Q?  Why the (expletive deleted) wasn't Rook traveling with the team on a CRUCIAL 5 game western road swing????  This seems like closing the door after the horse has left the barn.


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