It. Looked. So. GOOD...
...and then it just went to hell.
First, there was the gift of the disallowed goal for Ian Cole in the first period. Apparently, it was an on-ice call after Garon complained about goaltender interference, according to the sharp eyes and ears who were on Twitter at the time. Whether it was that or a call in Toronto, that was a gift, folks. Everybody knows the Jackets have been on the wrong side of those calls for less than that.
Then came the scoring... Voracek's goal off the precise, crisp passing of Rick Nash and then Derick Brassard... that was a thing of beauty. R.J. Umberger's deflection of Grant Clitsome's slapshot demonstrated why he is the kind of guy you want in front of the net on a power play. Pure art.
Then Derek MacKenzie put home a one-timer off a pass from Jared Boll. It's the kind of play you want to see from your third- and fourth-liners: Guys who can support the top two lines -- and the goaltender -- with some scoring.
And then... the meltdown. They let the Blues back in the game.
Credit where it's due, Alex Pietrangelo put a hell of a shot past Mathieu Garon, who looked like he may have been out a little too far to challenge the shot. Sadly, Ian Cole did finally get on the board for his first career goal.
That goal by Chris Stewart was a killer, though... speeding toward the crease to pick up a loose puck and put it past Garon. Painful to watch that replay.
The Blue Jackets got only six shots on goal in the second, but connected on three of them. You can't take the chance that you'll have that again and put up only five shots in the third. Not that the Jackets didn't try... they just got shut down.
Then to have Stewart get the puck, streak into the Jackets' zone and deke Clitsome ot set up the backhand winner in OT... that just hurt.
The Jackets' failure to get that second point (again) has them eight points out of a Playoff spot, with 16 games remaining. They still need those 14 wins, which will take one hell of a run to pull off. It's possible... but CBJ fans need to see some damn-near-flawless hockey from this club from here on out. Not only is that doable (and come on, we've seen it this year), there are thousands of people who very much want to see it.
This season isn't over. It's a matter of remembering how to play 60 minutes. Hell, look at the New Jersey Devils. For the first 41 games, those poor bastards had clearly forgotten how to play hockey period... let alone 60 minutes of it. Since the season's midpoint, those same Devils are 20-3-2.
We may just get to see what that looks like. So, don't switch it to Food Network just yet.
Or at least that's what I'm telling the wife....
Follow @MartiniHockey on Twitter...