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Blue Jackets: 5 ... Coyotes: 1

Monday, October 09, 2006
Every day should be Columbus Day!

What can you say after a game like that, you know? There were so many positives from this game that it's hard to keep track of what was the best thing that happened tonight.

Actually, no. The best thing? Nikolai Zherdev scoring on his first shift of the game on the power play, and then getting another goal after a deflection off of his skate later in the game. I have a feeling that anyone who was booing his return in Columbus is probably reconsidering their position on Zherdev now. And believe me, on opening night when his name was announced as a healthy scratch over the loudspeakers, there was enough boos amidst the cheers that you could tell there was plenty of bitterness left over from the summer's contract issues.

Pascal Leclaire was able to come back to opening night form as well, stopping 23 of 24 shots. The defense around him also tightened up much more compared to the previous two games, with Rusty Klesla's return definitely helping out in that department.

The power play was once again on target, and I'm ready to call Gary Agnew a magnificant bastard for having such an apparently immediate impact on how the team goes about using their man-advantage time. With tonight's 3-of-12 PP results, they're now 8-for-25, which is more than modest. And they still outnumber their even strength goals 8 to 4.

Points were spread around the whole team tonight. Let's see ... Nasher had a goal and two assists, and Duvie Westcott had the same sort of points. Anson Carter got his first goal as a Blue Jacket on a backhanded shot which surprised Coyotes' Ed Jovanowski and deflected into the net off of his stick or skate. Hartigan and Malhotra each had an assist, and David Vyborny cashed in with three assists of his own.

A couple notes of interest that played out before and during the game ...

-The Blue Jackets played in their alternate jerseys for the first time tonight. You got to love those jerseys. They're just so much more stylish and appealing than the regular home jerseys.

-So it was not Fritsche, nor was it Hartigan, or even Svitov or Balastik who got scratched tonight! It was, of all people, rookie Gilbert Brule. I want to say that I was blindsided by that decision and that I am surprised, but then you look at his low quality pre-season and slow start in the first two games of the regular season, and you see why he was probably sitting in the press box tonight and not on the bench.

-Brule probably won't be waiting long to come back to the roster, though. Dan Fritsche had to leave the game sometime in the first period and never came back. By all accounts the injury was to his shoulder (yeah, there's a surprise), and there's no real confirmation on the severity of the injury. Then again considering he left in the first and never returned, that's probably not a good sign in the least.

-After three games in four nights, the Jackets get a nice, week-long break before they head all the way to Minnesota this Saturday. Here's hoping they don't start to get a little rust on them from the small hiatus between tonight and Saturday. You never know.
  • At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Bob said…

    Did Zherdev look up to MacLean's lair and give him the finger last night after he scored his first goal?

  • At 7:36 AM, Blogger Kat said…

    Last night was the best 60 minutes of hockey the CBJ have played in a long time. They have to play like they did last night for the next 79 games if they want to make it to the playoffs.

    Let's hope the time off does not make them rusty.

  • At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Eleven Warriors said…

    This team is good boys. Plenty of scorers and a really solid young goalie. Don't be surprised if we pull a top 5 seed come playoff time.

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