Thursday, December 10, 2009

Game Recap: FLA vs. CBJ 12/10

Last night marked the first time in well over a month that the Jackets came out of the gate firing. The wheels were spinning fast and strong through the early going, hammering the Florida defense with a strong forecheck from at least three lines. The offensive combination of Dorsett - Brassard - Torres was by far the most potent, pressing relentlessly and making a statement that no ice time would be easy for their opposition.

Then enter the Nash - Vermette - Huselius line, who were passing brilliantly and coming ever so close to scoring on multiple occassions, forcing the defense to shrink towards the net. While the goals were not being scored, the effort and tenacity that was so badly missed was evident, and none were more pleased than the thousands in attendance.

For me, I was excited. Sitting at home watching the game was a 'gametime' decision after attending the last two home games (aka losses) and I immediately begun to regret opting for the lazy route. Every effort on the puck, and every connected pass reminded me why I dedicate so much time to this team, and it truly got me excited again as a fan.

The unlikely hero in the first period was Jason Chimera. After tucking his head and barrelling towards the offensive blueline, I was quick to get frustrated with him for missing a wide open Voracek streaking wide. Chimera, however, had plans of his own. After throwing a fluttery backhand at Vokoun, he crashed the net hard, tucking in the rebound. The guys finally got the goal they deserved, and took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

The second period was forgettable for the offense. A 1-0 lead was clearly the cushion they were searching for, and fortunately, the defense decided to bail out Steve Mason after a couple miserable turnovers lead to spectacular saves. As I had mentioned a few posts ago, Mason was only lacking a fair chance at the puck, and none were more difficult or fair than Kulikov's slapshot, gloved perfectly by Mase. For me, that changed the game. The offense realized that Mason and the defense would hold if they continued their pressure, and the third period was much like the first, up until the refs started making calls.

Now, regardless of whether the calls were fair or not, the edge went to Florida. Once again, Columbus was forced to kill a 5-3 late in the game, and once again, they pulled through. Midway through the third, one of the more media favored (recently) players came cruising down the left side with the puck. Brassard artfully lifted the puck over Vokoun's shoulder into the top of the net, and just like that, the Jackets had their dreaded two goal lead. A strange faceoff win and 'sort of' shot by Sammy Pahlsson sealed the deal, and Steve Mason held on the record his first shutout of the season.

Skill from the playmakers, and strength from the grinders won this game. Proper defense, and a potent offense caused Florida to play smarter, removing some of the offensive efforts that may have been there if the Jackets sat back. They played the hockey they are meant to play, and Hitchcock better take notes. If they play every game like this, minus the second period lull, making the playoffs are going to be the least of their worries.

Carry the Flag!

No comments:

Post a Comment