Saturday, January 27, 2007

Jackets go Wild vs Minnesota

It was a great night to be inside Nationwide Arena. Two successive nights in fact- the Jackets managed back to back wins against the Buffalo Sabers and Minnesota Wild, respectively. I attended tonight's western conference matchup, and it was a great ride.

In front of a packed house, the Jackets faced off against the Minnesota Wild. As pumped up as the team, fans, and media was regarding Friday's big win over the Eastern Conference leading Sabers, I couldn't help but be a little discouraged by Malhotra's double minor only nine seconds into the first period. The penalty kill lines were up to the task, however- all four penalty minutes were killed off without a serious threat from the Wild.

A few minutes later, the Wild's Johnson took a hooking call then made a fuss about the penalty, thereby earning himself an additional two minutes in the sin bin. The Jackets were ready and made more of the situation than Minnesota was able to. The Jackets scored two power play goals only a minute apart thanks to the double minor and another hooking charge to Nummelin.

Once the Jackets got up on the Wild, they never went back down. The team played with a tenacity that is seldom seen outside of the playoffs. From what I've read of the Buffalo game, it sounds like they never settled back down from the win on Friday. Play was back and forth and the entire team pitched in to get the win.

The player of the game was definitely Klesla. Besides a goal and an assist, #97 was all over the ice disrupting the Minnesota offense and generally keep the Jackets on top. Way to go Rosti, you've been really making a difference these last few games.

I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of things before the game started. First, Zherdev was scratched. Looks like he's really getting shut down after his continued weak performance on ice. Second, the starting line was Malhotra, Chimera, Fritsche, Hainsey and Eriksson. Those guys have been the workhorses of the team lately and truly deserve the starter role. I was definitely disappointed by Manny's six penalty minutes, particular those first four so early in the game.

I tried something new at tonights game. I brought along headphones to plug into my phone, which has a radio in it. I listened to the play-by-play from the Jackets radio network while in the arena, which was pretty cool. I'll definitely be doing that again. For the record, I got the trivia question right too.

Jackets win 3-2! Three consecutive wins! The season series ended at an even 2-2. We've pulled ahead of Chicago, who is on a ten game slide (ouch.). St Louis is next. They have 48 pts to the CBJ 43.
Box Score


Drew said...

I heard Zherdev has the flu. Maybe that's why he was scratched.

Did he play on Friday night? I don't remember.

Tyler said...

Hmmm... I didn't hear that, and I don't know about Friday. Good question.

Drew said...

I'm still not sure on the flu thing, but he did have 15 shifts in 9:39 TOI Friday night.

Here' hoping he gets Hitch's message sooner than later.

Brandon said...

I see him being traded at some point. I don't think he fits into Hitch's scheme. They can deal him to my adult league team, the only place his toe drag would work.

Tyler said...

Fair enough. No, he doesn't fit Hitch's style. Z isn't physical enough, nor is he an all-around player. He tries too hard to make the highlight reel instead of making a good play.
He's just a guy who takes the shot over the pass pretty much every time.

Drew said...

It's also worth remembering that he's what... 22 years old?

That said, I agree with you. I think that if he hasn't improved by next year at this time, he could be trade bait.

Tyler said...

...and that's completely worth noting. The youngsters are always hungry (or greedy) for goals. It's no wonder why they consistently lead the league in that category, even though their teams aren't so hot. Just look at Ovechkin, Crosby, and Nash in the last few years.

Z has some maturing to do, but given that the rest of the team is growing fast and he's not, I would certainly imagine him as a candidate for the trading block...

Brandon said...

Believe me, there are few people that wanted him to succeed more than myself. After seeing his picture with what looks like a Russian hooker (google image search his name and I think it's the first image that comes up). But after watching him play for a couple seasons with us, he looks like he's playing with no passion. He's so much better at passing the puck and playmaking than he is making one on one moves. Whether he recognizes it or not, that is how he will make an impact on this team and ultimately in this league. He's an amazing talent that I would hate to lose. But if he cannot grasp the team concept and play a two-way game, it's time to move on and get something for him while we still can.

That being said, the way he plays now reminds me of guys in the adult league that don't hustle and rely on trying to take the puck through everyone instead of moving it around and setting something up. I recognize it partly because I am one of those people.


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