By Tom T
Did that really just happen? That game truly surprised me. From start to (almost) finish the CBJ controlled every aspect of a game with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion. The only time that WAS pushed the action was the last 2 minutes with their goalie pulled. I was uncertain that Ovi was even playing. The game log revealed he had 21:08 TOI. His best (and only) attempt was not even a shot on goal – he missed the net on a redirect – and didn’t occur until a 3rd period PP. Extremely bright spot for the Caps was Holtby. It would have gotten out of hand on the scoreboard without him backstopping that WAS performance.
That was the most complete game the CBJ has played to date this season. One could not have scripted a more dominating 3 – 0 win. It had great saves (thanks Bob!), team defense, superior stretch passing as well as notable in zone passing. And puck control, in all my years watching this team I find it hard to remember a time in which C-Bus had the puck on their stick more than they did in this game.
Here may be some insight into why this may have occurred:
1. CBJ is on a roll. There is confidence building, they are on a winning streak and the players on the ice are healthy.
2. Home game. While C-Bus doesn’t have the best home record, they did get to sleep in their own beds the last few nights.
3. WAS on the second half of a back-to-back and 7 games in 12 days. CBJ had two days off leading up to this game.
4. The Caps position in the standings is solid while the CBJ are being challenged and have been in and out of the Wild Card position. Meaning that the Jackets had more to play for.
Thursday’s Match Up with the Islanders
Third game in a row against a top team in the league. This time it is the team leading the Metro division. Isles sit 5 points ahead of the Jackets and hold the NHL’s 6th best record. NYI rank 23 in goals for, #1 in goals against and have a +25 goal differential (ranked 7 in the league). The last ten games have yielded them 14 points (6-2-2), despite dropping their most recent game to BUF.
After finishing second-to-last in the Metro last seasons and losing their franchise player to TOR in the offseason, NYI find themselves the Cinderella story of season so far. Barzal has continued to play a starring role with 48 points this season to back up an 84-point 2017/2018 campaign. Bailey, Lee, Nelson and Eberle are also posting good numbers.
The story of their season is the drop in goals against. Currently they have a 2.43 goals against per game as a team. In 2017/2018 that number was 3.60. A 2-goalie-approached has worked for this team with Lehner and Greiss posting great numbers while splitting time.
What does this result mean to the CBJ?
With 27 games left it’s hard to say. A win far from clinches a playoff spot. A loss does not end their season. Does a win signal that they should keep the Russians, or a loss guarantee a trade? In the simplest terms a win means Columbus gains 2 points in the standings and a loss puts them 2 points further behind. Too many games left in the season to put a huge emphasis on one game at this point.
TSN is now reporting that the Jackets have an interest in Duchene.
FLAs Huberdeau to CBJ as part of a Bobrovsky/Panarin package is only a rumor according to TSN that they may have started a few days earlier.
From TSN on 2/11:
From TSN on 2/13:
Does Panarin’s comment that he will test free agency lower his trade value? By how much?