HOW BOUT THEM JACKETS? What a game. Tuesday’s game marked the final regular season home game for the Jackets and let’s just be real, how good does it feel to say that and have to point out the difference. For those of us who have followed this team for many a year it’s truly a pleasure – and for fans “new” and “old” tonight was a real hum dinger. Phoenix was in town also fighting for their playoff lives and what you saw tonight was just a taste of legitimate playoff hockey can be. After a slow first period, both teams delivered a gritty play, swallowed whistles, intense crowd, atmosphere for days…and an OT winner. More than the sweet sweet emotion of the entire game for the team to come back from a late late tying goal only two games after losing a game in similar fashion shows exactly what this club is capable of. Let’s get on to look (and celebrate) the three stars per NHL.com tonight.
3rd Star: Boone Jenner. Yep. 19:35 on ice, 53.8% Corsi and one very big goal to start the scoring. Ryan Johansen is in the spotlight but don’t sleep on the young Jenner who is bringing a man’s game in a first year NHL player’s body. Perhaps most impressive to me was when Boone’s composure cracked for just a bit after Doan went after him. Boone leads the team in drawn penalties – his composure is unreal. When Doan came after him, and Johansen had to hold the Coyote back, you saw Jenner respond. It was a flash of emotion from a very controlled player. He got himself back in check quickly but this guy gets it and he cares quite a bit about making this team a winner. After losing his opposite winger when Horton went off with an injury, Jenner steadied the Johansen line and was a big body and a big presence all night. Continue reading Stars of the Night and Game in One Picture: Phoenix @ CBJ
The Jackets took down the Isles in a slightly early evening affair (not many 6pm starts). It was something if a strange game, very un-Jacket-y, with the majority of the teams four goals coming on the powerplay. The shots, shot attempts, and pretty much every stat were pretty close. This confuses some people, but we’ll get to that. Faceoffs were the one big difference, as the Jackets finished with 65% of the draws in their favor. Oh yeah, the score was also pretty different.
Third Star: Mark Letestu
Letestu was solid tonight, finishing with an assist on Boone Jenner’s game opening marker, and a goal capping off a fantastic passing play. Oddly, I didn’t feel like there were many standouts tonight (other than the guy I’ll talk about next). I just felt like most of the team was solid. I did like seeing Letestu being engaged physically, especially the nice hit he laid on Cal Clutterbuck (just before John Persson took out Derek MacKenzie for no reason, then slashed him while he was on the ice).
Gut punch. No other way to describe it. With three seconds to go the Blackhawks scored the winning goal after a mess in front of the Blue Jackets net. Blame officiating, blame a missed call, blame the wrong line up, blame confusion on the bench to avoid a too many men call – the score stands. No crying over spilt milk. The reality is a team that was this close to finally getting at least one point against Chicago did not. This game hurt. It hurt a lot – more than just in the standings. Let’s look at the three stars:
3rd Star: Ryan Johansen: First goal of the second period and a way to set the tone for what would be a back and forth game. As of this writing, Extra Skater is still stuck at 9 minutes to go in the game but at that point, Ryan had the best Corsi of the night for the Blue Jackets so let’s live in that world shall we and factor in the one Blue Jacket that got a star.
Before tonight’s game there were seven games left. Every one a piece of what equates to a playoff series. The Jackets needed a win in their next to last matchup against a Metro division opponent and they got one tonight. A huge 2-0 victory – the first on Philly ice and the first against former Blue Jacket Steve Mason. The Jackets also played to WIN and never sat back on their laurels – a response to a lead the CBJ faithful have been wanting to see. Six more games lie in wait – including another big match up tomorrow so let’s take the little time we have to revel in this win and celebrate the three stars according to the NHL. (Sidebar – if you watched the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast, get ready for a different lineup here)
3rd Star – Steve Mason: Ok I’m sorry but I’m gonna chalk this up to hometown writers. Mase had 25 stops on 27 shots and was admirable, but the second goal went in standard five hole, and Mason was the losing goalie on ten fewer shots than the winning goalie. Just doesn’t fly based on the game I watched. Would have preferred to see Brandon Dubinsky or even Matt Calvert here.
Hello all! With the CHL playoffs second round getting under way this weekend it’s time to recap how our eight CHL prospects did in the first round.
Oscar Dansk-Erie Otters (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 1GP 0-0 .800Sv% 6.56GAA
Oscar and the Otters opened the playoffs against the Saginaw Spirit in a 3-6 matchup. Otters coach Kris Knoblauch decided to go with backup (1B?) Devin Williams who is a native of Saginaw but you hope a coach wouldn’t start the local boy for that reason only in the playoffs. Luckily, the move worked. The Otters got off to a 2-0 lead before letting Oscar start game three. Oscar got that start and, well, it wasn’t his best night. He was pulled for the third time in four games after allowing five goals on 25 shots. Williams entered the game but unlike the other times, the Otters couldn’t come back and lost game three 7-6 in overtime. Here are coach Knoblauch’s postgame comments on Oscar along with a quick comment from Oscar on his recent struggles. The Otters won games four and five and advanced to face the West Division champs – the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. These teams have met twice in the regular season with Erie winning 3-0 with Williams in net and then getting blown out later in the season.
Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Western Conference)-Won Series 4-1
Series Stats 5GP 1-6-7 +3 6PIM
Kerby and the Storm faced off against the Plymouth Whalers and fellow CBJ prospect Gianluca Curcuruto in the 1-8 matchup. Kerby didn’t earn any points in the game one win but collected his first career playoff multi-point game in game two – a 3-0 victory. In the first, Kerby took a pass from Zack Mitchell to start a bang bang passing play with Matt Finn finishing the play. Kerby’s second point was an odd one as a Guelph player kept the puck in, Kerby stopped it allowing Nick Ebert to pick it up and fire a shot that went off a Whalers skate to make it 2-0. After being held scoreless in a game three loss, Kerby got back on the scoresheet in game four. In the second, Kerby started a rush up ice getting the puck to Justin Auger with Auger finishing it in a 7-2 win. Game five was a big one for Kerby – he pretty much put the team on his back and collected four points in a 8-3 win. Kerby’s first point came late in the first. It’s hard to tell if he was trying to do the between the leg shot or a pass but whatever it was, he got the puck to Ebert who banged a shot past the Whalers goalie. Kerby’s three point third period started when after a board battle the puck went to Kerby who tapped it to Zac Leslie. Leslie passed it back to Kerby who unleashed a howitzer to make it 5-2. 1:31 later, Kerby worked a give and go with Ryan Horvat that Horvat finished. Later in the third Kerby curled to the point and made a pass to Scott Kosmachuk who seny a crosscrease pass to Nick Ebert whose slapshot made it 8-3. Up next for the Storm is a matchup with the London Knights. The teams met six times in the regular season splitting the series.
Disappointing end to what once looked so promising. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this game, as the Jackets have traditionally struggled with the Avalanche’s speed. But minus top scorer Matt Duchene, the Avalanche were not able to pull away like they usually do. The Jackets controlled play for the first two periods, carrying a resounding two goal lead into the third period. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hang on, and a (justified) penalty on Artem Anisimov put the Avs on a 4v3 powerplay in overtime to seal the deal. On the bright side, the Jackets got a point, New Jersey only got one point, and Washington got crushed. So the CBJ stay in a playoff spot for the time being.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Colorado
Wow. What started as a bit of a snooze-fest on the front end of the game sure turned into an exciting conclusion for an all-important two points that the CBJ need to try to create some breathing room between them and others hunting down one of the wildcard spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Early in the game, the 4th line created some great energy and a gorgeous scoring opportunity that started with a gorgeous saucer pass from Letestu to Comeau’s stick and ended with Khudobin making an impressive save. Coming away with a win in a game where the Jackets never had a lead in regulation is huge and speaks to a trait that they’ll need to have if they expect to make the playoffs and be productive once there. Let’s take a peak at the stars of the game:
3rd Star: Artem Anisimov
I won’t argue this with the exception of maybe bumping him up above 3rd. While Joey’s OT game-winner was a great shot, Artem’s feed on that was the real work of art on that play. Couple that with his game tying goal in the 3rd and Anisimov simply came up big when it mattered most tonight. Love seeing that and can hope he can carry the momentum from tonight’s game into the rest of the season.
Hello all – our updates are becoming a bit shorter with prospects wrapping up their seasons so let’s take a look at the players still in action in the past week.
Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons picked up a 3-0 win with Jeremy Smith picking up his first shutout of the season. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring when Ryan Craig rimmed the puck around the boards to Carter Camper who found Joudrey in front to shoot it past Cal Heeter. In the second period off a scramble in front, Ryan Craig made it 2-0 when Dana Tyrell drove to the net with Andrew Joudrey getting the puck, shooting, and the rebound going to Craig. Late in the third period, Jake Hansen scored his ninth of the season when Lukas Sedlak shot the puck. Heeter stopped it but Hansen knocked in the rebound. In the 3-0 victory Jeremy Smith made 28 saves in the win.
Saturday night the Birds were off to Hartford for a game against the Wolfpack. It was a big game as Jackets 2013 first round pick Marko Dano made his North American debut on a line with Michael Chaput and Jean Francois Jacques. The Falcons took the lead when Darryl Boyce scored 6:29 into the first. The Falcons added two more goals in the second period when Jacques and Boyce scored 20 seconds apart to make it 3-0. Halfway through the third, the Pack got on the scoreboard when Darroll Powe scored. 37 seconds later Carter Camper notched his first goal with the Falcons (and 12 points in 11 games). Just under a minute later, the Falcons struck again when Jean-Francois Jacques scored his second of the game. To finish out the scoring, Marko Dano picked up his first North American point when he battled Tommy Hughes for a puck, knocked him over, and got a shot off with Cody Bass picking up the rebound to make it 6-1 (video from Marko’s facebook page). In the 6-1 win Jeremy Smith made 26 saves. Also worth noting, Springfield fan @Katyloveshockey tweeted that on Marko’s first shift he laid a hit on Wolfpack defenseman/Rangers first round pick Dylan McIlrath giving up six inches and almost 50 pounds.
A valiant effort, but a disappointing outcome as the Jackets fall 2-1 in regulation to the Penguins. The Jackets controlled the play for most of the game, but couldn’t buy a goal until it was too late. Strange flow to the game tonight, as the first and second periods were riddled with penalties and powerplays, but no goals. The third was a barnburner, with the two teams combining for a whopping 28 shots on goal (and only one powerplay). The bad news is a regulation loss. The good news, is the Maple Leafs also lost in regulation. This still leaves the Blue Jackets in the drivers seat in terms of making the playoffs. Four teams are still tied at 80 points. The Jackets still hold the regulation wins tiebreaker over Washington, Detroit and Toronto. Columbus no longer has a game in hand on anyone, but they do still have on over the Leafs. So it’s on the Jackets players now. The playoffs are in their hands. If they equal or better the teams they are battling, they make the playoffs. If two of those three teams outplay them, then the CBJ didn’t deserve to make the playoffs anyway.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. Pittsburgh