Sunday, October 8, 2006

10/7/06 vs. Blackhawks

Ah, the first away game of the season. Usually, it is one of those games that us Jackets faithful dread, not only is it an away game, but it's also in October. The best record ever posted by a Blue Jackets squad in october is 3-5-1, coming in 2002. Nevertheless, the team definitely ended strong, with the sting of the OT loss still fresh in the teams's mind from the previous night.

The game started ugly with Adrian Aucoin and Jeff Hamilton putting in two goals on two shots for Chicago. Fortunately, Fredrick Modin woke up the team with two consecutive shots, opening the floodgates and outshooting the Hawks 13-3 in the first period. The game was also knotted up at 2, with Rick Nash and Jaroslav Balastik picking up goals for the CBJ.

The second period brought on another flurry of goal scoring from the Jackets. Manny Malhotra got one by Khabibulin at 11:44 of the period, with Rick Nash tallying his second of the night only a minute later. Duvie Westcott closed out the scoring in the period with a snap shot from close range.

For some reason, it seems as though the Blue Jackets always have issues in the third period. I feel like they always seems to run out of gas. The period was big for the Blackhawks. They went on to outshoot the Jackets 12-2, and score two goals in 25 secongs to bring the game back into Chicago's grasp. Fortunately for Columbus, time was on their side and they managed to pull out a "W" and for now, after 2 games, they sit on top of the central division.

For the Blue Jackets to have a shot at the postseason, they are going to have to start showing up for an entire game. As we saw at home on Friday, they got on the board quick, and then almost as quickly surrendered the lead. Pascal Leclaire was brilliant in net, preventing what could have easily been a 5-2 or 6-2 blowout. The team has the talent to get to the top, it's just a matter of showing it for an entire contest. Leclaire should be able to handle the number 1 job easily, but he needs help from the defensemen. Rick Nash can't carry the offense, and the newly acquired forwards in Frederick Modin and Anson Carter are going to have to get on the board.

Nikolai Zherdev has supposedly made it into town, be on the lookout for him in the lineup on monday, as Geoff Platt has been sent down to Syracuse to make room for Z. Also look for Rusty Klesla who will be back after a two game suspension for a low hit on Tuomo Ruttu during the preseason.

Honorable mentions for the weekend go out to the Washington Capitals for beating the Hurricanes, who are still winless after 3 games. And I also give mention to the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets, who won the franchise opener in OT 3-2. Unfortunately they dropped the second game of the series with the Waterloo Blackhawks 2-1.

Columbus Blue Jackets 5, Chicago Blackhawks 4

Columbus Record: 1-0-1, 3 pts

Box Score

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