Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Striking Oil

Was it quite a 60-minute game? No.

We'll take that 4-2 win, though.

The Columbus Blue Jackets gave up two early goals. Quick ones, too. Never a good thing.

Throughout this season, the Jackets have had the nagging issue of not playing 60 solid minutes of hockey... and make no mistake, this was one of those games.

However, if the Jackets were going to settle for playing 40 minutes of hockey, they sure as hell picked the right 40 minutes.

That second period was amazing to watch. Ryan Johansen's shift in the neutral zone to keep Ryan Smyth away from the puck, right before a short pass to Vermette to set up that wrister from the circle when he got the puck back? Pure art. Dude looked calm, collected... I could watch that replay many, many times. Already have, actually.

Derick Brassard turned in another beauty with :00.8 to go, zooming toward the net as the puck entered the zone, knocking the puck in off his backhand. Sure, it trickled in off Devan Dubnyk. The fact that Brass raced in to be in the right place at the right time. That's hustle. That's hard work.

And lately... that's been Derick Brassard. He's playing like he's got his groove back.

Colton Gillies hit the box score in his first game as a Jacket with an assist on Derek MacKenzie's game-winner. Talk about a quick centering pass. I couldn't see the thing until the replay. Nice helper, New Guy.

And getting an empty-netter like Derek Dorsett's in the last minute is always nice. It's made nicer when it helps improve the power play stats on paper a little. Come on, an ill-timed, late-third-period penalty, and it's not on the Jackets? I'll take that any day.

If you got confused by all those mentions of Dereks/Dericks... well, don't look at the three stars in the box score, because there they all were.

With a pair of opponent goals not even 20 minutes apart, this game could have gone completely to hell. But it didn't.

It may be tempting to look at a performance like this like "Why haven't they been playing with this much drive all season?"

And while that's somewhat justifiable, I look at it like, "I just watched a damn good hockey game."

And I'll take that 4-2 win.

While we're here... send some good vibes Taylor Hall's way. I know he was apparently on a bike and wanting to play after it happened and everything... but still, taking a skate to the face like he did in warmups is pretty damn scary.

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