Good News, Bad News
Last night’s game vs. the Sharks was a tantalizing event that just fell short. Here are my takeaways from the game;
The bad . . .
Too many penalties — going in we knew we had to stay out of the box, and giving SJ six stabs at it, including 4.5 of them in the second period alone, is a recipe for disaster. That we only gave up 2 goals under the circumstances is somewhat of a positive
Missed chances — taking nothing away from Nabokov, who played an amazing game, we need to bury our chances. Converting 1 out of 6 scoring chances in the 1st period, when we had them reeling, opened the door for what followed.
Turnovers — not a huge problem, but we need to be more consistent with the puck in our own zone, and be sure of our clears. Hejda is a brilliant defenseman, but when he goofs the puck handling in our zone, it is usually a whopper of an error.
Faceoffs — we got taken to school in the circle last night.
The good . . .
Offensive pressure — We had the best team in hockey reeling in the first period, through sheer speed, hard work and skill, for virtually all of the first period, and exerted pressure 5 on 5 throughout the game. Nash, Huselius, Umberger were huge, and the goats began to re-emerge. Novotny showed predictable energy in our zone, and Modin and Peca were also a presence.
Sound defense — We held SJ to one even strength goal, and provided them with few golden opportunities 5 on 5.
Penalty kill — Yeah, I know we gave up two power play goals. However, this is the best damn team in the league, and we killed 1:40 of 5 on 3, kept the puck out of harms way for vast stretches of the other power plays, and even had a couple of decent shorthanded chances.
Overall effort — We stood toe to toe with a team that has been undefeated at home in regulation, and did not flinch. We are an improving club, and nobody has played SJ better in their arena this year. It took a big advantage in power play time and a stellar goaltending performance to get them the victory. While every loss hurts, this is one most would have put in the “L” column going in, and to start the road trip with that kind of effort bodes well for LA and Anaheim.
Bottom line is that we were a couple of bounces (or whistles) away from a victory. Nothing to scream and wail about. 4 points await on this trip. Go Jackets!!