It has been a rough start for The Blue Jackets, 0-7-1, and finally, after a James Wisniewski induced supercharge, the zero is gone, we are now 1-7-1. The celebration on the ice was reminiscent of a Stanley Cup Playoffs victory, my own twitter timeline even acted as if we had just won a Stanley Cup. It was a giant party, and it seemed funny, how can we be feeling good after just one win?
From what we saw on the ice, players seemed to have a confidence in them that has lacked through the first 8 games. To start off, defense, yes you heard correctly, DEFENSE, we actually had it. (Despite one Aaron Johnson mistake
leading to the 1-1 goal). With Wisniewski, the defense seemed to know what it was doing, and the combinations seemed to work well 5 on 5, as well as on the PP/PK. Wisniewski was great, blocking shots, and rocketing his own from the point. Clitsome seemed to regain his old form, as did Tyutin and Russell, all making key defensive plays to break up Wings scoring chances. John Moore looked like a completely different player out there, played pretty confident on the ice, had a few minor slip ups, but overall, 110% better than he has been. He also scored his first NHL goal. This defense, helped add to a great goaltending outing by Steve Mason.
Mason looked absolutely solid in net. The one goal against, I suppose you could semi-fault him for, you could say he should have hugged the post earlier on the play, but if Aaron Johnson would have kept on his man, the play never would have happened. But other than that, he played like the Mason we all know and love, making a few spectacular stops, and looking completely comfortable in the net. It is amazing what a good defensive performance can do to put confidence in a goaltender.
And finally, the offense, 31 shots, one of the better offensive outings this season. Constantly attacking, no relaxing, exactly the kind of work this team needs to put in night in and out to win. RJ Umberger finally came out of the shadows, with 5 shots (leading the team), 1 goal and 1 assist. Captain Rick Nash had a pretty quiet night, but was still working to set up plays, also stopped on a breakaway, but nothing to show for it, he finished with 3 shots on goal. The man of the night was Ryan Johansen, who earned 2 points, including his first NHL goal. It was quite a nice play, he shot the puck off the back of Conklin’s pad and right into the net. The kid wants to stay with the big club, and he was showing his worth last night.
With this kind of game, something not seen in the first seven, it is easy to see why Blue Jackets fans, including myself, are feeling good, despite being 1-7-1 right now. There is a lot to look forward to if the team can keep this level of play up, especially when Jeff Carter (among others) returns to the team. You wonder if after the first seven games, The Blue Jackets have finally found the right combinations on the ice. We will find out if the team last night was the real deal in the upcoming weeks!
LETS GO JACKETS!!!!!