So many different things could be taken out of tonight’s MASSIVE victory in Washington. While I sat on the edge of my couch rooting like crazy for the Jackets, I had mixed emotions, as it was a game I came into thinking there would be an inevitable loss. But let’s break down why it was a win.
Columbus aka Syracuse Prevails!
First and the most obvious foremost, Steve Mason. This kid, this boy, this ‘youngster’, this SUPERSTAR, was fantastic tonight. A shutout of the year for him, and while he received a few favorable cross-bars with the game winding down, he was absolutely stunning in net, saving 45 shots, and continuing his shutout streak of the Washington Capitals to 2 straight games. Not only will this boost the ever living heck out of his already fantastic numbers on the year, it will drive a stake into the brains of every Tom, Joe, and DICK who did not add him to the All-Star roster.
Next, I want to concentrate on the… wait for it… POWERPLAY! They actually had one tonight! That is right folks, the league’s worst powerplay scored two goals on its’ six chances, which works out to be 30%. For those of you who do not scour the NHL standings hourly, that is good enough for first place among teams in the NHL (if only for a night) when playing guys who are not typically even found on the second powerplay unit when all are healthy.
Third, I want to talk about shots. Yes, the Jackets were almost doubled in shots, but it did not seem like it. They chose their spots, respected the other teams talent, and found a way to create opportunities with what they had. None of the goals were crazy dekes or fancy spin-o-ramas, they were gritty, powerful statement goals from guys who do not often find the back of the net in Tyutin and Boll.
And speaking of Boll, after getting clocked in the face by Brashear with a cheapshot, he was fantastic in bouncing right back and scoring on the ensuing powerplay. Talk about a slap in the face for Brashear, who had to watch this from the penalty box in what most would consider ‘prime comeback time’ in the third period.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, tonight was all about a team playing a game they knew they could play, against a team they knew were better on paper, but they never gave up, and Steve Mason is still a monster.
Carry the Flag!