I think we can all agree that it is great to have hockey back. And it is always easy to say that it was an awesome weekend of hockey when your team wins. Game 1 of CBJ v. TOR was an old school grind it out hockey game that only a hockey fan could enjoy. Admittedly it wasn't a game that was going to turn the causal fan into a lover of the game. But it was exactly how the Jackets must play to win this series.
I was wrong to think it would take time for the defense to get in sync with each other. All the way up and down the d-corp was solid. A healthy Murray is an awesome addition to this line up. Gavrikov looked shaky on a few plays, but that was as bad as it got on the back end.
Korpi was up to the challenge. I hate to jinx it, but he has not allowed a goal since the re-start. I know it is only a game-and-a-half sample size, but a shutout streak has to start somewhere. He wasn't overly challenged but did make one or two high-danger saves.
And then there is the CBJ offense. Cam and Wenn both got goals. It would be very nice to get production out of the both of them. The other two that I was particularly impressed with were Texier and Bjork. Both got opportunities and seemed to rush them. Calm and patience will come with more game play. The forecheck from Texier was impressive too. When you talk offense you have to mention the play of the defensemen too. Seth and Zach provided pressure without giving up any of their defensive responsibilities.
This game was a microcosm of winning Blue Jackets hockey.
The underdogs did okay in the first weekend of the tournament. Both 12 seeds and one 11 seed came away with wins. Being that the games are all in shared locations, home ice advantage really isn't a thing, adding to the bizarre-ness of this year's playoffs. And I hate to call the CBJ an underdog in the 8 v. 9 match up, but most of the 'experts' are taking Toronto.
The Toronto match up
Is Toronto just the Tampa Bay Lightning-lite? Has this core of CBJ players already faced this team in the playoffs and come away triumphant? In hind-sight, those experts who took TOR may concede this point. I'm going to go ahead and make that point now. Ignoring the fact that Bob, Bread and Duchene are no longer on the roster, this CBJ team has seen this style of play before and handled it very well.
Rooting out of Spite
I am enjoying that FLA and NYR are behind in their series. It warms my heart that two guys who could be starring for the CBJ left town and now find themselves in a less desirable situation than they abandoned. Usually I would say that I wished departing players well, but in particular, Pinarin took less money to go elsewhere. And as I sit here writing this, he and the Rangers are behind 3-1 in game 2 v. CAR.
Back on the ice Tuesday for the matinee at 4 pm.
Good Luck and GO JACKETS!