Pardon the analogy, but tonight’s game was kind of like a round of golf: no matter how much can you dwell on some of the negatives, there’s usually one shot that keep you coming back for more.
That’s essentially what the Blue Jackets dealt with in a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild tonight at Nationwide Arena. While they admittedly did not start the game as crisp as they had hoped, the Blue Jackets (4-2-1 preseason) kicked it up a notch in the final 40 minutes and used a scintillating power play to spark a rally.
Guillaume Latendresse was credited with a fluky goal to open the scoring at 11:17 of the first period, as the puck actually caromed into the net off a Columbus defenseman. Aside from a well-executed power play goal from the Wild in the second period, that was really the only chink in his armor tonight.
Mason made 32 saves, but none was better than his stone-cold rejection of Dany Heatley’s one timer in the third period as Minnesota attempted to mount a comeback.
Tonight’s win was the fourth this preseason for the Blue Jackets (4-2-1), who will wrap up the exhibition schedule tomorrow night at Carolina.
The Blue Jackets might not win a karaoke competition, but they sure made the puck sing on a second period power-play goal.
Tomas Kubalik mentioned it’s a play the team works on frequently during practice, and one they executed to perfection tonight. With the Wild’s Justin Falk in the box for interference, Fedor Tyutin faked a shot and slid a pass to Kubalik at the goal line. Kubalik quickly snapped a pass to the slot – right into the able hands of Jeff Carter.
Within a blink, the puck was behind Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding, giving the Blue Jackets their third straight goal and a 3-1 lead. The power play stunted some of the Wild’s momentum and Columbus established some breathing room after that.
FIRST STAR: Fedor Tyutin (CBJ) – 1 goal, 1 assist (+2)
SECOND STAR: Antoine Vermette (CBJ) – 2 assists (+2)
THIRD STAR: Cam Atkinson (CBJ) – 1 goal, 1 assist (+2)
-Radek Martinek led all Blue Jackets players in time on ice tonight (23:49), and registered an assist on Rick Nash’s go-ahead goal in the second period. The more he plays, the better he gets and that’s a good thing for Columbus. The smooth-skating defenseman is all over the ice and makes defending top players seem effortless at times.
-Steve Mason turned in another strong effort in goal, turning aside 32 of 34 shots. The aforementioned highlight-reel stop on Heatley brought the Nationwide Arena crowd to its feet as time ticked off the clock in the third period. The Wild had seven power plays in the game and recorded 12 shots with the man advantage, and Mason nearly got the only one that beat him.
-Jeff Carter has a knack for escaping the coverage and getting quality scoring chances. He and Nash are really starting to click, and that’s exactly what coach Scott Arniel has been patiently waiting for. His goal in the second period was a thing of beauty, and several of his teammates made mention of the quick release after the game. His line with Nash and Kubalik was impressive on the power play, and got better at even strength as the game progressed.
-David Savard is engaged in an intense fight for an NHL job, but based on his play, you wouldn’t notice the nerves. He logged 17:22 tonight and took a regular shift at the point on the Blue Jackets' four power play opportunities. With James Wisniewski suspended for the first eight regular season games, there is a spot open on defense and Savard is trying to go right through the front door.
Blue Jackets vs. Wild Photo Gallery
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Fedor Tyutin and Cam Atkinson each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 in a preseason game Thursday night.
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