Friday, December 30, 2011

Finishing The Job

Was... that... Rick Nash?

The guy who somehow had only 10 goals in 36 games?

On a team with only 9 wins in that same span?

A guy who had been a minus-20, good for (though that's probably not the best way to put it) second-worst in the league?

The league's plus-minus standings from NHL.com, after Thursday night's game. Yes, this is the last page.
Why yes, that was indeed Rick Nash who opened the scoring in the American Airlines Center in Dallas Thursday night. And it started something. Although Dallas' Vernon Fiddler would tie the game barely five minutes later, the Jackets stayed on the attack. The Jackets regained the lead on a goal from fellow under-scoring forward Antoine Vermette in the second.

From there, things took a turn... not on the scoreboard, mind you, but unfortunately on a more lasting level. James Wisniewski took a slapshot to his left ankle about even minutes into the second, and the early report is a fracture. The loss of Wiz certainly didn't help the CBJ's still-struggling power play. However, despite having to finish the game with five defensemen, the Jackets managed to maintain their focus -- and the lead.

Even in the third, which has been a concern for even the biggest, most delsuionally optimistic CBJ fan this season... even way before the power play explosion and subsequent defensive implosion against Nashville a week ago.

Nash added a second goal about six minutes into the third. It was a "Rick Nash goal," too... not like that crazy thing he did in Phoenix a couple years ago, but you know... one of those "get the puck, get around a guy and as another guy's joining the crowd, flick the wrister to the net" kind of goals. Thursday's performance was one of those that reminds us why we still love him in Columbus, and why fans in other markets wish he wasn't playing in Columbus.

And as time continued to tick down, the Jackets continued to hold the lead. They even killed a couple of penalties. Hell, on a couple of occasions, they almost made one wonder which team had the man advantage.

Simply put... the Blue Jackets finished what they started.

What it means when Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals come to town on Saturday... who knows?

But the Jackets finally got that tenth win. That may not be much, but it's something.

WRANDOM WRISTERS
  • I did not realize this until it was mentioned/repeated ad nauseam in pregame and during the game (admittedly, I don't watch the pregame shows a lot), but this was apparently the first road win in regulation this season, and first since March. Wow. Just... wow.
  • In a strange twist of a former CBJ player taking out another former CBJ player, current Coyote Raffi Torres might be facing supplemental discipline after putting a shoulder to current Av Jan Hedja's head in the Phoenix-Colorado game Thursday -- check out Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski's wrapup of the situation. Scary looking impact... and apparently, this was the second time in as many nights that Torres has caught some extra attention for a hit.
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