A lot of good shined through from the 3-1 win tonight versus the Anaheim Ducks. Let's get into it.
1. I've been dying to use this headline all month and the Jackets finally gave me a good reason too. And believe it or not I'm glad it's Mason's mug I got to use. The Jackets finally did what they haven't done during most of this miserable start. They won on special teams. They won in the net. They won in effort.
2. Let's talk Mason. The Jackets were very good in front of him but it was Mase who finally made some big saves to keep this team rolling. Let's rewind back to the Ducks' PP in the first half of the second period. The Jackets were up 2-1 at the time and Visnovsky had a great scoring chance. Mase made a big save on him but it was the rebound save he made on Perry that was, to me at least, the key to this win. That was a save - and it was a difficult one - he has NOT been making this season. It was timely and it kept gave the team in front of him incredible momentum. What happens next (after another great save on Koivu) -- Tyutin scores and the Jackets go up two goals and go on to win this game.
3. Jackets finally capitalize on a a big PP opportunity to jump to the early lead in this game. That is exactly what the PP needs to do. The boys also caught a break with that full 2 minute 5 on 3. Make no mistake though -- if they don't convert there who knows where this fragile team ends up in the game. It was a big mental and momentum boost.
4. This team was fighting for something or someone.. literally. Dorsett with two... Russsell with one.. Bass with one (what a great tradeoff to get Getzlaf off the ice). Don't think for a minute these players don't know what's goin on. Sounds corny but I fully believe they fought for this win for their HC.
5. How much better does Tyutin look with Wiz out there? Both guys logged major minutes (Wiz with 27:58 and Tyutin with 27:26). The also both contributed on the score sheet with a combined 3 points. I gotta say --- if Wiz indeed wanted to go to a team where he would be the man, he's got his wish. I think he's playing fantastic to boot. Right now this team is 2-2 with him in the lineup. He's got 4 helpers in 4 games and is a +2. I do worry about burnout. Once Methot comes back I've got to think their minutes will ease.
6. If the Jackets lost this game you'd have to think the axe drops tomorrow. Now with this win? My guess is both Howson and Arniel live to see another game. As good as this win was this team is still 2-9-1. Another loss or two and my guess is the axe falls.
Both Nash and Prospal are tied for the team lead in points with 10 each. John Moore continues to impress. He got a whopping 22 minutes in ice time in this game and finished a +1. On the flip side is Brassard in the dog house or what? He got just 6:28 and was the second lowest on the team to Giroux. Another guy who didn't see much playing time was Russell with just 8:20. What do to about Ryan Johansen? Kid is making it a very difficult decision. He's got 2g 2a in 9 games and is a +2. My gut tells me he stays but I keep going back/forth. I LOVE the way MacKenzie is playing. He's bringing a big missing element to that top line and that is hustle and dirty work. His play in the defensive zone has been stellar. He was also good in the dot winning 64% of his draws. In fact the team as a whole was good winning 54%. Jackets had 18 blocks, including SEVEN by Wiz, to Anaheim's 7. Solid crowd of 16k+ in the house for this one. Nice to see the CBJ win in front of that crowd. Guys on NHL Network made a good point on RJ -- he was doing the dirty work screening on two of the CBJ goals. 3rd jerseys... Good luck charm?
The Jackets finish the month of October with a 2-9-1 record. They were 2-3-1 at home and 0-6 on the road. I haven't confirmed it but I'm about 99.99% sure that is the worst start in the history of the franchise.
Their next game will be Thursday versus Toronto.
This post will be a wrap to the scary movie theme for game recaps. Unfortunately this entire month was one big scary movie for the CBJ.
Next month's theme will be revealed on Thursday. Here's a big hint - it will be 11.19.11 Nashville road trip related! I know, you are all on edge....
I'll leave you with this pumpkin my wife and daughters carved for me tonight while I was at my CAHL game.
Happy Halloween everyone!