Blue Jackets Tie For Eighth in the West

Light the LampSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2008

The Blue Jackets almost gave me a heart attack as they hung on in the third to collect their sixth victory in their past eight, including three of five on this latest road trip swing.

They did it mostly on the back of Pascal Leclaire who stopped all 30 shots from the Blackhawks including 14 in the third period alone.

Jarred Boll collected the lone goal for the Jackets, moving them to a tie with Colorado for that eighth and final playoff spot in the West as they move into the break.

Lit It Up

Pascal Leclaire...You know the All-Star snub who leads the league in shutouts and is second in both save percent and GAA?

It's an absolute joke that he is not in the game and he threw it right back in the NHL's face with an exclamation point in the form of a shutout. Leclaire was the reason this team collected two points last night.

Adam Foote and Jan Hejda were rocks all night long. The rest of the D did their part as well and we can't forget about the forwards who were also digging and clearing pucks. Leclaire earned the shutout but as any goalie will tell you, its a team effort as well.

In front of his hometown fans (Boll is from Illinois) Boll collected his fifth goal of the year, which proved to be the game winner. It was a goal that was created off of his hard work and forecheck.

PK did its job once again killing off all five penalties against, including a double minor from Rick Nash. In a night where the first team that blinked lost the game, the PK once again held its ground. Oh, by the way—PK is now No. 1 IN THE LEAGUE!

Nik Khabibulin—Chicago's goalie—really played a great game as well. He stopped 27 of 28 shots and deserved a win. SCORED FIRST! WHOOO!

Dim the Light

I thought Freddy Modin and Mike Peca had great games. Of course they didn't get on the board but they were both HUGE on the PK—digging pucks out, winning battles, smart positioning. I had forgotten how good Modin can be on the PK.

Once again Z was our best offensive force. He rang one right off the post that could have really given the Jackets some breathing room. He also had a couple of beautiful setups. Unfortunately guys like Chimera couldn't bury them.

Tollefsen collected an assist, but more than that he looked solid last night. He made the smart plays, got under the skin of guys like Ruutu, and was generally a point to play against. Looked more like the Tolly of last season.

I liked Brassard again last night. Hitch pulled him out of the game in the third when the Jackets were holding the lead and couldn't afford any defensive mistakes, but when he was out there he was making things happen. His role will continue to increase with more experience. He's certainly not going anywhere for a while.

Busted Bulbs

The Jackets failed to covert on the powerplay all night, including three early opportunities that could have given them an early lead.

They got buy with one goal last night but that will not get them a win on most nights. They simply need more goals.

Jason Chimera...This guy is killing me. Hands of stone, turnovers (which he leads the team with)—Chimera needs to pick up his game.

David Vyborny's season from hell continues. He missed two golden opportunities and was generally a non-factor again last night.

The Jackets only won 35 percent of their faceoffs last night...uck!

Three Bright Lights on the Night

1. Pascal Leclaire: Eighth shutout, spectacular performance

2. Jarred Boll: Fifth goal of the year in front of hometown, game winner no less

3. Team defense: Everyone worked for that shutout

If you told me this team would bounce back from those Dallas and Colorado losses to pick up two straight wins on the road I would have called you a liar. This team did it though—they dug deep and got it done. They now find themselves tied for that eighth spot in the West with Colorado.

Fun stat I heard today on the radio driving into work: The earliest the Jackets have ever collected their 25th win was last season on March 2. They did that yesterday on Jan. 24. I'd call that marked improvement.

The Jackets take on Phoenix at home Tuesday, Jan. 29. Let's all get out there and support these guys!

Enjoy your break boys, you've earned it!



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