Friday, February 9, 2007

Flames Extinguished

What a game. The Jackets took down the flames last night in a 3 period thriller. The game seemed like all offense, as the puck went end to end the whole game through.

The first period went scoreless, and the second was almost the same. In the last minute of the second, Calgary's Lombardi managed to get one by Norrena. It would be their last. The Jackets bounced back in the third with two goals- one from Vyborny and one from Modin. They then managed to hold on to the lead until the last seconds ticked off the clock.

The almost 16,000 Jackets faithful that filled the arena were mostly quiet through the first two periods. The Calgary fans in section 215 made more noise than most other sections. The Jackets' first goal changed all that by lighting a stick of dynamite under the butts of the CBJ fans. The crowd became loud and passionate for the team, and it changed the momentum for sure.

The manner in which the Jackets won the game was impressive and interesting. It was reminiscent of football in many ways. Once the 3rd period ticked into the final few minutes with the Jackets up 2-1, all Columbus had to do was hold onto the puck. They passed the puck back in forth, eating away as much time as they possibly could. It was something inbetween a football team kneeling and one desperate not to turn the ball over. At one point, I couldn't help but be reminded of that hail mary Stanford-Cal game in which the objective was to hold on to the ball (or puck in our case) until a defender was right on top of it, then pass it off to the next available teammate. They managed to eat up several minutes this way. I've never seen hockey players do something quite like that, but I definitely enjoyed it.

The Jacket goals came only when they reverted to a strategy they haven't been using in a while. That is, taking it to the net. The team did a phenomenal job of cycling the puck around the perimeter and getting lots of movement from behind the net to the point. But it seemed that all of the tight angle shots and slaps from the point all missed wide or were blocked before they were given a chance to score. When the team began to crash to the net harder and more deliberately, they were rewarded with two points. Needless to say, I think this team needs to revert back to that strategy. After all, how has Nash (who has been on a scoring drought) scored in the past? He used to hang out in front of the net and muscle his way to a redirect past the keeper. And it worked, too.

Your Jacket Times three stars of the game were:
1. Vyborny - absolutely deserves it for PK efforts and goal.
2. Norrena - held fast despite recovering from injury
3. Klesla - blocked several shots, great tough play.

Box Score

1 comment:

truefluke said...

I agree with you about that game.

However, as far as Nash just hanging out in front of the net and lobbing it in like he used to do?

I don't think that works anymore. The teams know about Nash now and are keen to keep him from scoring that way. Or at least it seems that way to me.

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