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Observations from the Game

krusselGlad to get back to writing for FTC. I had some computer issues that have limited me over the past couple weeks (failed hard drives will do that to you) but, everything’s been fixed and it looks all sleek and shiny. Now that that’s over with, some observations from last night’s game…

The Union Blue were in the Gateway City last night to take on divisional foes the St. Louis Blues. The CBJ have not faired well in St. Louis over the past few seasons, 0-7-1 in their past eight outings heading into last night. At points last night it appeared the Jackets were set extend that not so illustrious streak, but Kris Russell and Mathieu Garon had other plans.

The Blue Jackets picked up an important two points with a 3-2 overtime win over the Blues. Russell scored the game-winner seconds after Mathieu Garon kept the Jackets alive with a kick save on Andy MacDonald at the other end. It was a very good, hard-working win, especially after such a dismal performance against the LA Kings Thursday night.

There was a bit of role-reversal to start the game off as it was the Blue Jackets who scored in the first five minutes. Derek Dorsett was set up with a great pass from Freddie Modin and slid a back-hander past Blues goalie Chris Mason at the 4:09 mark.

It appeared that the Jackets would be able to carry the lead into the first intermission but David Backes redirected TJ Oshie’s shot with less than two seconds remaining to tie it up. That goal came on the power play and made even the most cynical of Jackets fans and media cringe.

Things got pretty chippy in the second period with a total of 11 penalties, 36 minutes worth, doled out between both teams. The majority of those stemmed from a fight between Jared Boll and Brad Winchester that occurred just over three minutes into the second. Winchester took exception to a big open-ice hit that Boll laid on Jamie McClement and drew instigator and game misconduct penalties as well. There were numerous other scrums along with a notable, helmet-optional battle for position between Jake Voracek and Eric Brewer.

After Roman Polak’s roughing penalty put the Jackets up on the two-man advantage late in the period, Fedor Tyutin let loose a rocket from the point that beat Mason. RJ Umberger set the screen that made it all possible. Playing the low position on the umbrella to perfection. The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Rick Nash took an odd interference penalty with 2:51 remaining in the third after he swept a wayward glove toward Keith Tkachuk, who had do a little toe drag to get around it. MacDonald beat Garon on the ensuing power play to tie it up with 1:35 remaining in regulation. Here we go again right?

It looked like MacDonald would be the hero again for St. Louis when Paul Kariya set him up with a beautiful pass in space. MacDonald, one of the fastest skaters in the game, got behind Russell and tried to tuck it inside the far post but Garon kicked it away and Brassard gather it up and found Russell with some open ice. Russell skated it up and let loose a slap shot from the left dot that beat Mason just 1:32 into the overtime period. The Jackets goal of going 8-2 heading into the Olympic break is still possible.

Notes:

Both Mathieu Garon and his counter part Chris Mason were spectacular last night. Garon stood tall on a number of occasions, OT especially, but Mason really kept the Blues in the game last night.

The Captain, Rick Nash, got involved physically last night and showed his mean-streak with a nice hit on BJ Crombeen. Nash has very few peers in this league when he’s playing with a physical edge and scoring.

Kris Russell was made for 4-on-4 hockey. It looks effortless at times when he skates the puck out from the defensive zone 5-on-5. In overtime, with even more open ice, his skill set makes him downright dangerous. Last night’s goal was another example.

For all that has been made of the Blue Jacket’s recent struggles against St. Louis, Fedor Tyutin may wish he could play all his games against the Blues. In nine games against St. Louis over the past two season Tyutin has 5-3-8 including last night’s power play tally.

Bart Logan

bartftc@gmail.com

Twitter: @BartFTC

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