Jackets hang on; pull to .500 on season

Light the LampSenior Writer IOctober 21, 2008
The Jackets controled the first two periods and pulled out to a well deserved 3-1 lead. In the 3rd though it was all Canucks but Leclaire was there tonight to close the door to earn the 4-2 victory.
The Jackets now stand at 3-3 winning both games at home and one on the road.
* Lots of good play from a number of folks but lets start with Pascal Leclaire. He's struggled early this season but he looked in last year's form tonight, especially in that 3rd period when the Canucks threw everything they had at the Jackets (which was 12 shots) but couldn't get that equalizer past Leclaire. Nothing Pazzy could do about either goal scored.
* I know he didn't show up on the scoreboard but I thought Andrew Murray had an absolute fantastic game. This guy doesn't take a shift off and does a whole lot of dirty work out there. I don't think he lost a board battle all night.
* Derek Dorsett. Kid gets a much deserved first NHL goal, got in a fight and played over 12 minutes. No doubt Hitch likes this kid and his sandpaper game. He's got more skill than you'd think as well.
* I know he got pummeled but my hat goes off to Picard for stepping up to defend his teammate (Filatov) after he about got his head taken off by a very good fighter in Bieska.
* Hitch is definitely getting the last laugh on pairing Chimera up with Brassard and Voracek (which I thought was a big mistake). Chimera continues to play really well and had an absolute bullet to get the Jackets on the board early.
* Speaking of the rookies. How about those passes by Voracek on those first two goals. He started the breakout on the Chimera goal when he won the puck on the boards and headman'd it to Brass who then found a streaking Chimera. The real beauty was his cross ice pass to spring Nash into the offensive zone on the PP who then had an easy pass to Huselius for a tap in goal. We just haven't seen that kind of on ice vision in Jackets history - very exciting. Those two both had strong games.
* I really liked Huselius again. His composure with the puck is a tremendous asset. I think he is the single biggest reason for our early PP success.

* Speaking of the PP grabbed another goal.

* It was schedule magnet night! If your like me you've got these things lined up on a fridge somewhere from each season. Luckily I had a friend pick me up one!
* The defense did a better job of making outlet passes and doing the little things that win you games. Still plenty to work on but it was a step in the right direction overall as a group.
* I wasn't really impressed with the defensive coverage of the Nash line tonight. They as a unit got hemmed in many times and weren't hustling back as stong as they should. I think that was a big reason why Hitch broke them up in the 3rd.
* It seemed the officiating went the Jackets way tonight. There were some calls in our favor that I think were kind of weak. As they say, these things tend to even themselves out.
* Malhotra played a pretty good game in his first game action of the season. He only went 47% in the circle but played a strong 17 minutes out there.
* Pretty strong game for Methot. I would put him in the GREEN category but he did have poor coverage on that 2nd goal. That mistake aside, he played well and I loved that rush he had in the 3rd where he drew a penalty.
* Voracek only 10 minutes. I know Hitch is working him in but he's playing really well and I'd like to see him out there more.
* How about Doug MacLean on the Sportsnet intermissions? I'll give him some credit though he didn't dog the Jackets like I thought he would. He did take full credit for drafting Dorsett in the 9th round -- only Doug.
* He had a goal and an assist but Rick Nash was off tonight, waaay off. He looked gassed all night long - even the Canucks announcers commented on it -- and he was directly responsible for that first Canucks goal. Listening to the post game Hitch said he lacked energy and its probably due to the Jackets over playing him. To have him stink like that and still get two points and the Jackets with 'W' is a good sign though.
* Jackets not good in the circle only winning 44%.
* The Jackets turned the puck over 8 times versus 2 for the Canucks.
* Howson needs to send Filatov down. If Hitch is only going to play him 4 minutes then lets bring up a guy like Sestito to fill those minutes and let him get some quality time on the farm. Just not enough room right now for 4 rookies I think.
* Attendance announced at 12,057. Not good.
1. Jackets close out a game in the final minues to take the 2 points in regulation.
2. Pascal shuts the door in a critical stretch in the 3rd.
3. Dorsett gets his first NHL goal.
Honorable mention to the "goat" line. They all had their great moments individually and as a unit last night.
A lot of good things to build from but still plenty of room for improvement. At the end of the day though this was a key win leading into another home game this Friday versus the streaking Rangers.....and lets not forget about that Zherdev guy who will make his first appearance since the trade. Here is the window for the Jackets to get on a bit of a roll.