The Blue Jackets headed into tonight’s game with a lot to look forward to. Many players have been clicking on both ends of the puck and with healthy super-cop Sergei Bobrovsky I was confident in their ability to if not win, eek a point out of it and put on a good show for the home crowd. While I was sweating bullets after the hiccup midway through the second period, I could not have been happier with the performance. 2 goals against a good Lightning team is fine, and even though the Jackets leaned a little on Bob that’s what he’s there for isn’t he?
3rd Star: Ryan Johansen
Joey was all over the ice tonight, making marks on even strength with a ridiculous slapshot from the high slot. The puck traveled through the mountains of at least 4 NHL players but still managed to land safely in the twine behind Lindback. Couple that with a great scoring chance where the young star used his mind controls to break a stick and almost score on subsequent rush down ice. If you’re not used to seeing his name on these recaps, well, you adjust to things worse than my father who still uses a computer he bought back in 1998.
2nd Star: Nathan Horton
Let’s be serious, when we were all elbowing each other saying “200th goal for Horton” tonight we weren’t being 100% serious about it. That’s because we know little of Nathan Horton. Sure, he took a bad penalty after scoring the equalizer but hot damn was that a beautiful tally for the power-play goal. I’m still smiling. :D
1st Star: Jack Johnson
Sure, Mark Letestu scored the game winning goal late in the 3rd period but Jack Johnson’s the one who should really take credit for it. Jack’s been playing solid lately, and I say that not out of a supreme understanding of the game but because I haven’t been cursing his play. A booming shot and a well timed and placed pass were the most statistical successes of the birthday boy’s night, but not his only ones.
Stud: The Home Crowd
14,070 might be a little low for a surging team but when the crowd was active and into the game tonight it was hitting me right in the feels. With more performances like this those 14,000 are bound to turn into 16, 17, and beyond. A good crowd can really add to the experience of a hockey game, and tonight was no different.
Dud: The Discipline
Really guys? REALLY? The Jackets took waaay too many penalties at crucial moments in the tilt and if it wasn’t for our resident Top Cop the CBJ would have been down at least a goal late in the 3rd. Nothing kills a team or a crowd like a penalty under a minute after scoring a tying goal. (Except maybe actually surrendering that goal.) Thankfully he stood his ground and the Jackets have their collective mouths drooling over a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Carry the Flag!