Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Game 13: Rare Show of Dominance

I will be the first to admit that Monday night was the second straight Columbus Blue Jackets game I attended, in which I was not exactly brimming with confidence. A seemingly overmatched Jackets team was probably about to be taken to the proverbial woodshed by a very hungry and perennially tough team.

The previous game was against the Detroit Red Wings. This game was against the San Jose Sharks.

The Jackets beat both by four.

At this rate, I just might be comfortable with never being right again.

Just don't tell my wife that.

And while the evening's harpooning of the San Jose Sharks could pretty much be rendered meaningless in the "grand scheme of things," unless the Blue Jackets can do this on a much more consistent basis... this game gave fans lingering hope that this team has not given up on the season yet.

Sometimes you're the sharks, and sometimes you're the chum. For once, San Jose was both. The game had barely started before the Jackets got the first lead, courtesy of a goal from Brandon Dubinsky, who finally hit the scoresheet with his first goal as a Blue Jacket.

However, perhaps carrying over some of the admirable play from Sundy against Edmonton -- the part before the wheels feel off, anyway -- the Jackets seemed to play with a sense of urgency... even with the lead. Sure, they seem slow down toward the end of the period, but the team was still getting shots on nets, while managing to keep the Sharks out of theirs.

Well, they kept pucks out, anyway. Hard to keep the Sharks themselves out, when they seem to fall down a lot when they're charging Mason.

However, what happened a little more than halfway through the second brought nothing less than pandemonium. James Wisniewski got back on the scoreboard in his second game back from injury, with a power play marker. Then Cody Goloubef slapped one in from long distance just 1:11 later for his first career NHL goal (and the CHILI! Goal, no less).

Having seen and heard many San Jose third-period comebacks against the Jackets over the years, Patrick Marleau's goal just 13 seconds after that was disturbing, and had to make some wonder if this could be another one of those nights.

Apparently, it wouldn't be.

All "blood in the water" cliches aside, well... never mind. Not going there.

Nikita Nikitin took Matt Calvert's pass from behind the net just 21 seconds in and put the puck past Thomas Greiss to put any of those hesitations to rest. And as if that weren't enough, Nick Foligno danced around a stickless Marc-Edouard Vlasic and centered to Vinny Prospal to make the fifth goal look effortless.

The sixth looked even more effortless... Mark Letestu's flip looked more like a quick dump-in, than a shot. It counted, though.

I know this is a minimal mention of Steve Mason, and much less than he deserves... but he was kind of a badass.

So, the Jackets now head into a six-game road trip over a span of 10 days, needing to capitalize on some momentum and get their heads above water. A 2-3-1 performance on a six-game homestand was woefully short of what needed to happen, and now the Jackets have to find and display Monday night's sense of urgency on the road to dig themselves out of a hole again. Two games are with division leaders and three in the Central Division.

Insurmountable on a six-game road trip...? Could be.

But then, I thought this one could be, too. I've been wrong before.

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