A tough three game road trip is finally over and the Jackets are home for two quick ones, with Nashville(12th) and Chicago(14th). Evaluating the trip for the X-mas list boils down to a couple of things, consistent scoring or as Hitch says "increased expectations" on the offensive side of the coin (from forwards and defense). The second wish is the understanding the inconsistent want or ability to "hunt" down the puck with passion, both 5-on-5 and on the power play.
The PK was victimized for two goals against in each of the past two games, against Detroit and Nashville. The PP was 2-20 the past three games and since 5-on-5 is few and far between, those special teams are your bread ad butter.
The Jackets were outshot 37-12 in the first period in the past three games. The team is 7-1-1 when scoring first and that was not the case on the road, when they gave up the first goal in all three games. The Jackets outshot Nashville 35-17 after the first period on Saturday by getting the puck low and sustaining some net pressure.
What was up with the shootout in Nashvlle? Novotny was the winner in practice so he was a popular choice to start the show, but he failed to capitalize as he could not get the puck high on the blocker. Where was Zherdev? He went to the finals in the practice shootout last Thursday and lost in a four shot final with Jiri. There will be some questions to Hitch on Monday to his rational on his decision to not have him the lineup. The CBJ lost to a Martin Erat shootout gem of a goal.
Shootouts have robbed the CBJ of three possible points so far this season. Boy will a couple of those points be a must come next April when the hunt for the "P Word" is discussed by all.
Another question for Hitch in our media scrum on Monday will be the decision to remove Norrena at the beginning of the 3rd period after the :35 second goal by Jordan Tootoo. He was replaced by Leclaire for 2 shots, then injected back into the fray for the remainder of the game… a page out of Mad Mike Keenan's book on trying to jump start the team and/or even send a less than subtle message to the goaltender to get with it (Freddy was victimized by a couple of goals that he knew he should have controlled). The effect was obvious as the CBJ scored two goals in a span of 1:20 to tie and get out of Music City with a point.
Let us give kudos to Curtis Glencross for scoring his first two point game in the NHL. He was a late addition to the lineup in Nashville for Michael Peca who was out with a tweak. He is a guy that loves to be on the ice and he made his mark in an important scenario.
Fans, this is a big week of Central Division hockey again at NWA. Come and support with a little CBJ pride!
*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings". The Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasters will try to keep you update on all the behind the scenes action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets hit the road. The next road game is 11/16 @St. Louis.