If this were the old Bluejackets, I would probably be stomping around, cursing Doug MacLean and everyone he ever associated with. Sure, they missed opportunities tonight, and yes, they had two defensive lapses that resulted in goals. But when you outshoot the other team 43 - 22, lay 48 hits on them, and their goalie stands on his head to turn away some terrific opportunities, all you can really do is credit them with a well played game and move on with the point. We remain 6 - 3 - 1 for the first 10 after the All Star break, so slightly ahead of our 60% target.
Maybe I am getting soft in my old age, but there was a lot to like about the way the team played tonight, and some things that need work. In 4 games played with Dallas this year, 3 are decided in OT or SO. All are physical. The Jackets lose Brassard in Dallas, and now it looks like Dallas loses Richards for the season with a fractured wrist. Nothing official, but that's what was reported on Jackets post game. These teams are going to have some more wild ones down the road.
Let's jump right to the +/-:
++ Hitting -- We hit Dallas all over the ice, coming, going and in between. After the indignity of the first 45 seconds, we definitely won the physical battle.
++ Offensive Aggressiveness -- we held the puck for long periods in the offensive zone, put plenty of rubber on net, and dominated long stretches of the game. We took the first 15 shots of the second period. We score 2, and should have scored 3 or 4 more, but for Turco's acrobatics.
++ Defense -- Commodore and Malhotra were caught flat-footed on Richard's goal Mason made the first save, and Richards had time to jam it up and over. Defense was just slow getting back on the second goal -- nothing Mase could do there. Other than that, we kept Dallas at bay all night. Some frustrating cycling behind our net against the wall, which always creates some discomfort at Nationwide, but it ddin't result in anything. Solid effort.
++ Special Teams -- Yeah, we were only 1 for 6 tonight on the PP, but could easily have been more but for Turco. 1.5 stinker PP shifts (see puck handling below). PK was perfect again.
++ Players -- Umberger, of course, with Voracek, Backman and Torres all playing hard and well. Boll, Murray provided energy, and Dorsett was an agitator, but not a big contributor otherwise. Commodore was huge with 8 hits.
--Puck Handling -- After we got 2 goals, we started getting fancy with the puck. Huselius, trying hard to make plays, ended up making more turnovers with ill advised drop passes or other looks that did not connect. Williams did the same thing several times. That hurt both our 5 on 5 game and the PP. However, that is something easily fixed, and with the way we dominated the offensive zone, tough to harp too much on it. We were better with the puck in our own zone.
--Officiating -- No excuses, but my Koharski and his partner were bad. As many power plays as we had, it should have been doubled. Nash was hooked, held, slashed all night, and some comical trips down low were never called. Comical moment when Koharski left his mike on while berating Dorsett in the 1st. Oops . . .
Another point, and nothing veering off course. Apparently came through the game healthy, which is more than Dallas can say. You hate to see that, but also tough to have too much sympathy for the Stars, given what we have been through on the injury front this year.
As I put the finishing touches on this, I note that Ottawa beat Nashville, Atlanta is beating LA 4 - 2, and Edmonton is tied with Phoenix 1 - 1. Edmonton has a tough back to back with Phoenix and San Jose tomorrow.
Shake off the missed point and focus on St. Louis, who might be getting a bit cocky, thinking they have our number. We need to prove otherwise. Go Jackets!!!