Jackets stay out of the box....but lose anyways.

Light the LampSenior Writer IOctober 15, 2008

Hey...they stayed out the box so that should be a win right?


Instead it was bad bounces and costly mistakes that did in the Jackets last night in San Jose as they fell 5-2.

The Jackets were guilty of two shorthanded goals against that resulted from mis-communication and bad decisions from the defense to the goaltender. Call it chemistry, tired, whatever -- I'll just call it bad hockey.

The good news -- they only took two minor penalties that resulted in PP's against and they killed off both -- but its kind of meaningless when you have brain farts in other areas of the ice.


As I mentioned the Jackets stayed out of the box which was a positive sign and something they'll have to build on, especially against Nashville on Friday.

* I thought Kristian Huselius played his best game thus far as a Jacket. He scored a goal but he also was very efficient with the puck, gained the zone on PP entries and was finding people all over the ice.

* Brassard continues to see his ice time increase as he played 16+ minutes last night. He notched an assist and ever more than that I thought he was very responsible in his own end and even had a nice hit in the defensive zone (somehow the San Jose Sharks score keepers decided not to count that one on the score sheet). He's been one of, if not the, best forward for the Jackets over the first 3 games.

* Oh Chim-dawg. If only you could have converted on that break-away in the 3rd that would have tied this game. I love Chimmer and think he's valuable to this team but Brass and Jake need a finisher on that line.

* I liked Dorsett again. He took a bad penalty but the kid gets his nose dirty and kept things interesting at the end there. I really want to see him drop them with someone -- I predict a Dorsett-Tootoo showdown on Friday.

* Nash was solid again but he's snake bitten. Would love to see him have a big game against the Preds Friday and get it rolling.

* Two PP goals on the night would typically be green but when you give up two shorties as well then it makes it real hard to say it was a big positive last night. That said, the PP had some real nice puck movement and it did notch a couple of scores against a stingy defense and goaltender.

* Backman got a shot through and scored! Even though Backman and Russell were both -2 last night I thought they were our most effective pairing and were by far the best at skating the puck out and transition.

* The top line combined for 19 shots (Nash had 9 alone) but just 1 point (the goal by Juice).

* The team blew two 1 goal leads. The team defense just isn't where it needs to be 3 games into it.

* Leclaire is struggling. His 4.24 GAA is 24th in the league. His .859 Save % is 23rd. Part of this is certainly the players in front of him but alot of it is some very bad decisions (just stop stickhandling the puck!) and he hasn't made many of those "wow" type saves.

* Freddy Modin is really struggling out the gate.

* Me staying up to watch this game..ugh.

* Klesla has got to learn how to make an outlet pass. There were multiple times where we just gave up puck possession because he couldn't read the play fast enough to find someone open, even when he had time.

* The team was a collective -20.

1. Limited the penalty minutes. The Jackets will win a lot of games if they can stay out of the box like they did last night.
2. Huselius & Brass. I liked both of their games last night.
3. Road trip is over...thankfully! Opening the season against 3 competitive teams like that..well the cards were always stacked against the Jackets and it certainly played out that way.

Definitely not the way anyone wanted to end the trip. The Sharks are for real and quite frankly they showed the Jackets have a long way to go before becoming an elite team like them.

Now all that said they did grab a win on this trip. There are positives to build from (like the play of the youngsters) and negatives to work on (like the struggles defensively). If you recall the Jackets started 2-2 last season before going on a nice run in the month of October.

The Jackets have two days to gear up for their home opener against the Predators. Now I hate to call anything an "must win" this early in the game but I think its critically important for the Jackets to come out of Friday's game with 2 points and some momentum to take back to Nashville the following night.



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