I could have lived with fewer bounces for Minnesota… but I did specify I didn’t necessarily need a blowout.
Two points is two points. Who am I to be picky?
For the next couple days at least, Jackets fans can be happy with a win and maybe the team can cash in on some momentum going into games with the unspectacular-but-unpredictable Toronto Maple Leafs, and a possible showdown with former Jackets netminder Pascal Leclaire to close out 2010.
There would be no better way to close out 2010 than with three straight wins. Yeah, I know… duh.
However, as this past month has proven, you can’t take a damn thing for granted. I seem to recall the last two times I assumed the Jackets would roll over a lousy Leafs team, the good guys lost. So I’m not saying a damn thing.
Since their insane 14-6-0 start, the Jackets are 4-9-3. They currently stand in 12th place, with 39 points in 36 games. Take their current rate of performance and stretch it over 82 games, they would finish at 89 points. That would be good for about 6th or 7th in the Eastern conference. In the West, it’s good for a foursome teeing off at 8:15 a.m. on April 13th, running some errands, picking up some beers and watching first round games at home.
But hit midpoint on January 7 after the Ducks game with seven or eight more points. Jackets fans might be able to feel kinda good again.
So… on to feeling good!
After giving up an early goal, recently-ousted starter Steve Mason started showing the flashes of brilliance he has shown occasionally this year (and showed a lot in his rookie season), and allowed the Jackets a chance to get back in the game with a Derick Brassard goal in the second. A goal with :02 left in the second period threatened to shift it back to Minnesota.
But Steve Mason bounced back, keeping the Jackets in it long enough for Fedor Tyutin and Andrew Murray to get goals :41 seconds apart toward the midpoint of the third. He even had a little more left after Cal Clutterbuck knotted the score with 8:22 remaining. After that, he stopped everything all the way through overtime, save one miscue in the shootout, which didn’t matter after Rick Nash, Kyle Wilson and Kristian Huselius all cashed in against Jose Theodore. Nasher also added two assists to become the Jackets’ all-time assists leader.
All that, and apparently more than 14,400 people showed up for a Monday night game. The numbers tend to be a little over, but even 80% of that is damn good for a Monday.
We’ll take it, baby. An exciting hockey game, and a lot of witnesses.
Oh... and two points. We really needed that.
- Monday's game marked the first victory in the new third sweater. Let the "Third Jersey Jinx" talk end now. Please? (I just got mine for Christmas... woohoo!)
- Someone tweeted about the demise of Boomer. Not sure, because I've kinda been out of the loop the last few days, so I'm not sure. I'll be honest... I wouldn't miss him. Sure was an interesting conversation topic at Thanksgiving dinner after the jersey unveiling, but that's another post.
- I still can't say or write "Cal Clutterbuck" without thinking he sounds like a Harry Potter character.
Follow @MartiniHockey on Twitter...