By Evan Meyer
The week that was for the Columbus Blue Jackets…The team is showing the rest of the National Hockey League, they are not going to be the easy two points that have been in the past. In the three games they played last week, they came up with efforts well enough to win. However, they only had one point to show for it, with the point coming on Thursday night’s losing effort in overtime to Calgary.
Here is a quick look at last week’s games for the men that ‘Carry The Flag.’
GAME #10: FEBRUARY 5 VS. LOSANGELES 4-2 L
The Kings are where the Blue Jackets want to be someday, defending Stanley Cup Champions. On this night, CBJ gave the champs all they could handle. Opening the scoring at the 13:02 mark of the first period, C Derek McKenzie took a beautiful pass from F Mark Letestu in stride, beating Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for his first goal of the season. Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead early in the second on goals tom Ante Kopitar & Jeff Carter, who was with Columbus last season until he was sent to the Kings at the trade deadline for Jack Johnson. The Jackets would tie the score just 71 seconds after the Kings second tally when Derek Brassard beat Quick to the short side for his second of the season. The champs would regain the lead midway through the period when Slava Voynov jammed home a rebound past Jackets goalie Steve Mason. They would add an insurance goal midway through the third period from their captain Mike Richards. Mason (1-4-0) making his second straight start and fourth straight appearance made 27 saves in the loss.
GAME #11: FEBRUARY 7 vs. CALGARY 4-3 OTL
The Jackets came back from a 3-2 deficit to tie the game midway through the third period only to see the Flames score in overtime and gain the extra point. After Calgary took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal from C Roman Cervenka, it took CBJ just 25 seconds to answer as LW Matt Calvert scored his first of the season and first since March, 2011. Columbus then took a 2-1 lead on the power play as D Jack Johnson & Brassard found Letestu for his second goal in as many games and fourth of the season, tying him with Anisimov for the team lead, beating Calgary net-minder Leland Irving. In the second period, the Flames tied the score on a goal from Mikael Backlund then took the lead with a power-play tally eight minutes into the third off the stick of Lee Stempniak. However, the Jackets are a different team than they were a season ago, tying the score with nine minutes remaining in regulation as Vinny Prospal added a goal to his assists thanks to a beautiful pass from Letestu. In the extra session, Alex Tanguay found the range and beat Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the game-winner his fourth goal of the season. Irving, playing for the injured Mikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves for the win, while Bobrovsky (2-2-2) making his first start since allowing three goals to St. Louis back on January 31st, made 26 saves with the hard luck loss.
GAME #12: FEBRUARY 10 vs. EDMONTON 3-1 L
The Blue Jackets came up with another staunch defensive effort, they put 40 shots on the Oilers net, but could only put one past their goalie Devan Dubnyk, as the visitors from Northern Alberta scored a short-handed goal late in the third period, then added an empty-net tally for a 3-1 win. The Oilers took a 1-0 lead early in the first period as CBJ made a bad turnover deep in their zone in which Ales Hemsky capitalized for his fifth goal of the season. The score would remain that way until midway through the third period, when Columbus equalized on a great individual effort by R.J. Umberger getting the puck from then near corner skating around to the top of the slot, then using his right-hand shot to beat Dubnyk for his first of the season. Late in regulation, the Jackets were on one of seven powerplays on the evening, Sam Gagner poked the puck away from a defenseman and came down the left wing, led a pass to Magnus Paajarvi who beat Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for his first of the season. Edmonton sealed the game in the final minuite when Gagner added an empty-net goal, his fourth of the season, along with his game-winning assist. Bobrovsky (2-3-2) saw just 13 shots and stopped 11. He had no chance on the first goal after the turnover, and on the short-handed goal
The Jackets will complete this five-game home-stand (the first of two they will have this season) Monday night as the San Jose Sharks make their first of two visits to Nationwide Arena this season. The visitors from Northern California got off to a scorching start but have cooled recently. They bring a lot of firepower in F Patrick Marleau & C Joe Thornton. After the game, the Jackets begin a six-game road trip starting Thursday night in Los Angeles against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Kings. CBJ will be looking for a little payback after losing to the champs 4-2 in a very competitive game back on February 5th. The week ends with a stop in Phoenix on Saturday night to face the Coyotes. Their first visit to Jobing.com Arena this season was nothing to write home about after the Jackets took a 1-0 second period lead, the home team scored the next five goals en route to a 5-1 victory.
SEE YOU RINKSIDE!