Jackets Avoid Upset..
For two periods of play tonight, the Blue Jackets continued their unstoppable play. Consistent with their effort against both Detroit and Boston, Columbus came out of the gate with the desire to win, and gained a three goal advantage.
I must give credit to Marc-Andre Fleury, who made some of the best saves I have seen all year, specifically his glove save on a driving Umberger who claimed a rebound and tried to push it home. Not only did the entire crowd expect the goal (including me, who sat on my couch not-so quietly screaming to go to the war room) to count, the players on the ice could not believe what they had just witnessed.
While three goal advantages are exciting, they do not allow for any error, and teams who obtain them can not sit back and give away any momentum. Unfortunately, a goal was scored on the man advantage, giving Pittsburgh and their fans (I can not believe how many Pens fans acquired tickets) back into the game. Two bad mistakes later – ahem Commodore and Novotny – found Columbus tied and going into overtime.
Before I go any further, I have to talk about Mason’s answer to Fleury’s incredible save. A solid pass across the slot was one timed towards the goal late in the game, and again much to the surprise of the crowd, it was saved, this time by Mason. It was one of those saves you never really expect your goalie to make, but seeing it getting saved makes you jump out of your chair.
Overime was rather relaxed, with few great chances, and the shootout was not all that special, although I would like to credit Huselius for scoring the goal I did not think he could, and kudos to Mason for saving all three shots he faced. Hopefully what was said in the dressing room during the post game will remind the boys that giving up on a game with a big lead in the “new” NHL rarely bodes well for anyone.
Some quick notes…
- Vermette scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket, and his 10th goal of the season. He also got an assist on the Williams goal, which was one of the better plays of the game
- The Jackets are 3-0 with Vermette in uniform
- They have tied their franchise best in wins at 35, and expect to shatter that record before the season ends
- Mark Methot suffered a blow to the head during the game, and a concussion has not been ruled out
- The crowd was also a record at 19,167 aka 105.7% full
Carry the Flag!