Jackets edge Blues to open Conference Semi's

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, May 10, 2006.

  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    CD -- Columbus

    Maybe it was rust after finishing off their first-round opponents early, but the Jackets started last night's opener in their second-round series with St. Louis as though they were still on break. On a night of close matches, when all four HFNHL playoff games were decided by a single goal, the rusty Columbus Blue Jackets still managed to came back against a tough St. Louis squad to win game 1 of their second-round series.

    The Blues, smarting from two losses to Columbus late in the season, dominated the first period with an 11-3 edge in shots and a number of big hits that had the Jackets skating on their heels. With the play almost entirely in the Columbus end Martin Brodeur was under seige, and he eventually caved under the onslaught as the Blues' Vincent Lecavalier scored his first of the post-season at 10:05, one-timing a Zdeno Chara feed high on the short side.

    The pressure mounted to start the second period as Sergei Samsonov scored his third of these playoffs at 0:22, jamming home the puck during a goal-mouth scramble. Lecavalier and Chara picked up their second points of the night on the play.

    Head Coach Mike Babcock, furious with the lackadaisical play of his top lines, gave his grinders a chance to set a different tone, and they delivered, cycling the puck down low in the St. Louis end and eventually having a cross-ice pass go in off the skate of a Blues defender. The goal, at 2:06 of the second, was attributed to Mike Leclerc from Bob Boughner and Chris Gratton, demonstrating Babcock's confidence in rolling four lines.

    Following the goal St. Louis seemed a bit shaken - not displaying the confidence one would expect from a veteran team that had made quick work of their higher-seeded round 1 opponents. The Blues' trap began to break down and the swift-skating Jackets forwards took advantage, outshotting the Blues 11-7. Linemates Slava Kozlov and Mike York were the most busy, taking advantage of an early second-period injury to standout Blues defender Derian Hatcher to pressure the Blues, resulting in two more goals before the close of the period to put the Jackets ahead 3-2.

    The Blues came out for the third much more determined, and we got to see some of what the rest of this series could hold - two physical, defensively sound teams grinding away at each other. Shots were about even as both Brodeur and Blues goalie Nikolai Khabibulin were tested, but neither would falter and the Jackets went on to a 3-2 decision.

    The Jackets' special teams were perfect last night, with the powerplay going 1-for-1 and the penalty kill successfully killing off both St. Louis powerplays, but the Jackets will have to enjoy a lot more of that kind of success against St. Louis in order to make up for a dismal performance at both ends of the ice in the opening round versus Chicago.

    Despite the result and the discipline his players showed, Babcock was disappointed. "A win's a win", he said, "but that should have been a loss for us - Marty made the difference. We didn't generate enough chances, we were outhit, we lost battles in the corners, especially in that first period. Our practice this morning is going to focus on getting the jump back in our legs."

    It will be interesting to see which Jackets team shows up for the start of tonight's match.

    Milo Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
     
  2. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Second verse - same as the first!

    CD - Columbus

    Same team, same result: the Jackets allowed the Blues all sorts of chances in the opening frame of game 2, with St. Louis outshooting them 9-3 in the first 20 minutes. This time, however, Brodeur stood tall and kept his sleepy-headed teammates alive with some spectacular saves, particularly one highlight-reel stop on big Joe Thornton in the final minute.

    And, just like game 1, the Jackets came alive for three goals in the second period - a lead they would not relinquish. Mike Modano's line scored its first points of the series, with Modano and defenceman Adrian Aucoin contributing two points apiece. Mike York continued to pace the second line with an unassisted marker.

    St. Louis made it close in the third with goals from Hatcher and Klesla, but the Jackets held on to win with by the same margin as game 1: 3-2. The Blues fired an identical number of shots at Broderu, who stopped 23 of 25 for the second game in a row, and once again the Blues outshot the Jackets, although the Jackets trailed by only one this game.

    Some differences:

    - Columbus was shorthanded three times (although they were a perfect 3 for 3 on the PK), but with three of their own chances, their powerplay was unable to deliver, echoing a problem that has plagued them throughout the playoffs, despite boasting one of the best powerplays in the league during the regular season.

    - The Jackets returned to their customary dominance of the physical game, outhitting the Blues 41-32: high totals that speak to the energy both teams brought to this game.

    The Blues now return home to the Savvis Centre down 2-0, and hoping that they can pull a rabbit out of their collective hat against one of the league's best road teams.

    Milo Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2006
  3. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    In a tesseract worthy of Madeleine L'Engle, the Columbus Blue Jackets again edged the Blues by one goal in a... second game 2? All the voodoo in the air would probably explain why all three goals in the game were scored by defencemen.

    Ride, Loa, ride!
     
  4. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    Indeed - Blue Jacket Voo Doo.

    I'm just thankful to get out of Columbus before the Blues lost four straight!
     
  5. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    That's Bloo-doo, to you! ;)

    Thanks to Drew for sorting out the trouble - sorry for the impact to certain GMs. I'd say "Stuff happens", but given that I'm still up 2-0, I doubt my sentiments would be appreciated.

    Looking forward to St. Lou.
     
  6. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    Not so much
     
  7. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    I feel you, Greg. Of course, you could win the next three and all of this will be a soon-forgotten anecdote...


    In other news, I'm feeling pretty chuffed about how well Penner and Bernier are playing in the NHL playoffs. I just hope their ratings reflect next season reflect their development... (*crosses fingers*)
     
  8. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    I'm going to drop the series.
     
  9. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    You take downers this morning or something, Greg? I admit it's a close series, too close to call, but that should be no reason for pessimism. You managed two wins against them - you've got every reason to think you'll get more.
     
  10. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    It's 1-1. That 2nd win was taken by Bill Murray and Groundhog's Day.

    First time ever in the playoffs and lose in multiple overtime after losing a win. Oh yea, playing the Sharks too.

    My luck will run out....I used it all up to come back from 3-0 against the Wings
     
  11. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    I realise it's now 1-1, but the "lost" win still proves you can beat Dave's Sharks when you need to. And yes, I'm sure the irony of playing against the Sharks in the playoffs adds to the sting, but dont' worry - you can beat Dave without it affecting the NHL Sharks' chances. (I hope you've been watching that series - it's been great!).
     
  12. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    I get up for work at 5. Game 3 ended at 2. Of course I stayed up. :)
     
  13. Dr.Sens(e)

    Dr.Sens(e) Registered User

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    Come on Greg, I haven't given up against the Jackets, so you can't give up against the Sharks, especially when you've just claimed the home ice by spliting at the tank!

    Of course, I'd probably be the last guy standing at the Alamo screaming, "We can still take these guys!", so take my perspective for what you will.
     
  14. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    Just means we have to win 5 outta 7 (71% of the games)and the Sharks 4 outta 8 50% of the games) to advance. That's a huge hole. And, yes, I know it's whining.
     
  15. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    ... and whinging. It's lucky your players can't hear you, or Marco would be hopping a flight to join Columbus before you could say Polo.

    ... and we'd welcome him with open arms, let me assure you. ;)
     
  16. spintheblackcircle

    spintheblackcircle ...so that happened.

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    would be interesting if a deal involving Sturm and Bernier were to take place.
     
  17. Vaive-Alive

    Vaive-Alive Registered User

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    Blue Jacket Doo Doo....
     
  18. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Even before Bernier was turning it on in the playoffs, he wasn't on the table. Not likely to be now, I'm afraid.

    Heh - Kruegs said "doo doo".
     

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