Ever work on an old car?? You put months, maybe years of effort into it. It starts looking better, but still doesn't run. Then, with some more tinkering, a little praying and a lot of swearing, one day it comes to life. At first it sputters, but then it settles in, and the longer it runs the smoother and faster it goes, until it just purrs right along.
Tonight, we saw that work in progress come to life. We sputtered a bit during the first period, then proceeded to play the best second period in CBJ history, and followed up with a 3rd period that was equally dominant. Yeah, the sputtering cost us and Mason a scoreless streak, but his GAA stlll went down as a result of his effort. We sweep the Avalanche in their building for the year -- something you would never have thought, much less say, just a year or two ago.
Here are the plus/minus awards for the night:
++Nash, Huselius, Malhotra line -- Combined for 8 points and +10 in one game!! Malhotra is a completely different player since joining the top line. The passing, intensity and sheer hockey instinct was a joy to behold. Nasher finally converts a penalty shot to boot!!!
+Commodore, Umberger, Voracek -- Great efforts as well. Commodore has become a scoring machine, and it was great to see Voracek get rewarded for his hard work. A nice 5 hole shot that will hopefully encourage him to shoot more.
+Peca, Russell, Boll -- In what seems like an injustice, they were all -1, but played with great guts and energy, and always seemed to be making a play.
+Mason --Duhhhhh . . .
+Special Teams -- 1 for 4 on the PP, with lots of good movement and some good shots. A perfect 6 for 6 on the PK. Doesn't get better than that.
+Team Spirit -- Did not get discouraged after some sloppy work in our own end resulted in Colorado's only goal. Came to Nash's defense after the Adam Foote cheap shot (#2) on Nash. Great to see Nash jawing at Foote. Wish I would have know what he said. Something like "Got an airplane waiting tonight, Adam?? "
--Foote -- Classless act, slew footing Nash (unbelievable no-call there), then just cheap-shotting him in the corner. But, when all is said and done, it was Foote who walked away with a bloody nose, a -3 for the evening, and the prospect of coming to Columbus in just 10 days. ;-)
A truly magnificent effort by the boys tonight. Watching Hitchcock in the post-game interview, you can tell he knows that they are on to something. Fun to watch, and consider that this is all happening on the road. We have guaranteed ourselves no worse than a .500 record on this trip, and it could be really special.
Mason back in goal tomorrow in St. Louis, who lost in Carolina tongiht 2 - 1, so they have an even longer flight than the CBJ. Puck drops at 8:30 PM EST. Go Jackets!!!