The biggest question going into this game for me was: which Jackets team would we see? Would it be the team that’s moved their feet, worked hard, and beaten some quality teams, or would we see the team that faces some adversity and folds up shop? Certainly helping to clarify matters was the fact that the Coyotes were on the second night of a back to back, and looked the part early on. But, it was the ineffectiveness of the Columbus Power Play coupled with a fluky bounce into the Jacket net that sent them to a fifth straight defeat, 4-3 to the Phoenix Coyotes.
It’s crazy to me that these two teams have played three of their four matchups prior to Christmas, but what do I know about scheduling? The important thing for tonight was for the Jackets to come out early and establish a forecheck and, hopefully, get the first goal. When scoring first, Columbus had a .857 winning percentage coming in.
And score first they would. For just the second time in the last 11 games, the Jackets would get on the board first, as Jakub Voracek would put them up 1-0 just 5:14 into the first period. But would it hold up? The Flames had some things to say about that before this one was over. However, it was the Jackets who would do the most talking with their physical play and stout goal-tending from Mathieu Garon.
This game had all the makings coming in of an interesting test of wills: Detroit came in with the second best offense in the league, and the Jackets had the third-best defense. Who would blink first? It would take more than 20 minutes to find out.
At the end of the night, the Red Wings capitalized on the Power Play where the Jackets could not, and the one goal made the difference in a hard-fought 2-1 win for Detroit. At least it wasn’t a 9-1 beating, like last year’s first meeting between these two.
As bad as the Jackets looked on Friday night—and have looked in four of their six losses on the season—the silver lining is that going into last night’s tilt at the Staples Center they had not lost two in a row on the season. That streak was put to the test, as the Kings had not lost at home in eight games at Staples (8-0-0) and possessed a perfect Penalty Killing record (31-for-31) on home ice. Not an encouraging sign for a Jackets team that sits last in the league on the man advantage.
Much like the Avalanche who have dismantled the Jackets twice on the young season, the Kings are a hard- and fast-skating team who basically owned the Jackets most of last season, including a combined 12-2 goals advantage in LA. Sounds like the end of the Jackets’ “not lost two in a row” streak, right? Think again.
When the Blue Jackets and Blues have gotten together over the past couple of seasons, each game generally ends in some kind of defensive, slugged-out, physical beating of a game. The Blue came in as the top goals-against team in the league at under two a game. The Jackets hadn’t scored more than three in a game, and themselves were in the top top in the league in goals-against. Looks like another hard-fought, physical beat-down defensive struggle, no? Yes… err, except for the “defensive struggle” part.
The Jackets got to Jaroslav Halak early and often, scoring three goals in each of the first two periods to take a 6-1 lead into the dressing room after two periods and to earn Scott Arniel his first real signature win as the Blue Jackets head coach, and the two teams traded physical blows all throughout the third as the penalty box became prime real-estate.
Every Tuesday, Dan Parker presents WFNY’s The 5-Hole, bringing you up to date with the goings-on of the CBJ…
The Week That Was
Just after last week’s 5-Hole published, a bomb was dropped: in shocking news, prospect right-winger Stefan Legein announced that he is going to quit playing hockey. According to GM Scott Howson, [Read more...]