After last night’s game I was looking forward to writing tonight’s stars of the night and predicted we’d have some Blue Jackets to write about. Without further ado:
3rd Star: Joe Colborne
I have no issue with Colborne being considered for a star of the game. He netted Calgary’s only score and put in a good 12 minute effort.
2nd Star: Nick Foligno
Foligno was a lock to get one of the stars of the game for reasons mentioned below in the Studs section. This was inspired play by an inspired team member.
1st Star: Kris Russell
This is where I’m going to differ from the NHL’s decision. Don’t get me wrong, Russell had a great game. He was absolutely man-handling some of our boys that easily had 30 lbs on him. I had many “where was that when he played for us?” moments. That said, how can Nikitin not be included in this list? I’ll freely admit I’ve been highly critical of number 6 this season and tonight’s game was far and away his best of the campaign. He played 15 minutes of responsible defense, notched an assist in regulation and even buried the GWG in OT. Any other D man in the league with that kind of evening would have cracked this top 3.
Stud: Nick Foligno
Foligno had one of the most harsh and candid comments following the drubbing in Edmonton. I knew I was curious to see if his play would reflect the message he put out to the press and therefore his team and fans. Nick Foligno did not disappoint. Opening up the scoring for the Jackets was obviously a nice way to set the tempo and let everyone in the building know that tonight would not be a repeat of last night. Beyond that, he played all night with an intensity required of all of our skaters to take points out of a game each night.
Dud: Artem Anisimov
Arty’s pass in OT that directly led to Nikitin’s OT game winner aside, Anisimov was once again simply absent. I’m not saying he needs to lead the team in scoring but he’s got to contribute more consistently. His draught wouldn’t be nearly so frustrating if we weren’t all so aware of what he’s capable of. Assuming a healthy Calvert return, perhaps a seat in the press box against Vancouver would give him a chance to see the game from a different perspective and give him somewhere quiet to ponder his game.