Still basking in the glow of the clinching victory in Chicago, here are a variety of random observations, tidbits and trivia as we get ready for St. Louis tonight:
Team Records — As a team, the Jackets are poised to set a number of franchise records for the regular season, including Most Wins (currently 41, old mark 35), Fewest Losses (currently 29,old record 36), Most Home Points (currently 53, old record 47), Most Road Points (currently 39, old record 33). In fact, a win tonight will put us at 17-17-7 on the road this year, by far the best showing ever.
Performance Under Pressure — After requiring the first half of the season to integrate all of the new blood and adjust to rampant injuries, the pressure was put on the CBJ to perform in the second half. Once they got above the bar, more pressure was put on to outperform their competitors down the stretch. With such a young team, there was reason for doubt, but the team responded remarkably. Thus far, 19-9-5 since the All Star Break — over .650 percentage of points available. For the Dirty Dozen down the stretch, they are 5 – 1 – 4 coming into tonight– a .700 points percentage. Nicely done!
Nash — With 39 goals, 39 assists and 78 points, Rick is on the verge of being the first 40/40 player for the CBJ, and garnering his second 40 goal season.
Work Left To Do — Count on the fact that Hitch has reminded the squad that regular season work is not done. We still need 1 point to clinch 6th place. St. Louis will be a desperate lot tonight, and we hopefully learned our lesson last time in the Scottrade Center, where it took a third period comeback to salvage a point from the eventual SOL. Minnesota needs to win both remaining games to reach 89 points. They would then need either Anaheim or St. Louis to lose both of their remaining games. So we are likely to have two very motivated opponents over the next two nights, and need to respond with energy and discipline. 5th place is out of the running, with Vancouver’s 1 – 0 victory last night.
Trophy Watch — Though many observers say he is a lock, Mason needs to put on a good show tonight to wrap up the Calder Trophy, and enhance any consideration he may have for the Vezina. A win tonight could mean a start for Dubie tomorrow, but that is an open question. Hitch might feel that the rest between the last game and the first playoff game will be enough.
Fan Appreciation — Whatever happens in tonight’s game, the Army of the Ohio needs to show up loud and proud tomorrow night for the regular season finale! (It is really nice to have to specify regular season!) No matter what may or may not happen during the playoffs, this team deserves every bit of support and appreciation we have to offer!