Coming off of being blown out by the speedy Colorado Avalanche 5-1 on Saturday night, having to face the red-hot Montreal Canadiens seemed like an accident waiting to happen. But once again, trying to predict which Blue Jacket team comes out that night is like trying to predict the stock market.
The Blue Jackets showed far more jump than the Canadiens and came away with a relatively easy 3-0 victory that never seemed in doubt.
What was interesting was that it was the Blue Jackets that appeared to have more jump than the Canadiens. But even more amazing was that the Habs came out and tried to impose their will, throwing shot after shot on net and out-shooting the Blue Jackets in the early going.
Then, when the Blue Jackets scored two goals within 1:23, you could see the energy being sapped from the Canadiens.
The Blue Jackets opened the scoring at 12:34 of the first period when Rick Nash ripped a wicked wrist shot on a rush via a feed from Jakub Voracek to make it 1-0. The Blue Jackets then made it 2-0 when Derick Brassard buried a beautiful feed from Voracek who broke deep towards the net, feeding Brassard cross ice to a wide open net while on the power play. Later, Kyle Wilson finished a two on one break with a pass from Jared Boll to put the game on ice.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Garon stopped all 29 of the shots he faced to record the shutout. However, while the Canadiens may have missed some opportunities to close the gap, Garon once again displayed the steady game that the Blue Jackets so desperately needed in net.
Here is an analysis of the Blue Jackets performance Tuesday night…
Mathieu Garon: Garon might not have been spectacular, but he certainly had a solid night. The old rule of thumb is that when a goalie pitches a shutout, he must start the next game. Hopefully head coach Scott Arniel abides by that golden rule and starts Garon the next game.
Derick Brassard: Brassard really appears to not only be settling into his role of centering the Blue Jackets top line, but he also finally seems comfortable letting the game come to him. Brassard’s game finally resembles what we saw from him in his rookie season, prior to his injury. Brassard now has registered four goals and one assist in his last five games.
Jakub Voracek: Voracek’s lack of scoring has mystified the Blue Jacket faithful, particularly after the solid finish he had towards the end of last season. While he’s a traditionally slow starter, the Blue Jackets need him to get on the score sheet this year. Voracek registered his first multi-point game on Tuesday and now has four assists in his last five games — this coming after he only registered one assist in his first six games. If he can notch that first goal of the season then the top line of Voracek, Brassard and Nash can take the pressure off of the remaining lines.
Rick Nash: The rumblings of Nash’s worst start since the 2005-06 season appeared to have been heard by the captain, as Nash opened the scoring with that lethal wrist shot. Nash also played with the type of jump that hasn’t been seen that often by the Blue Jackets leader. Nash is absolutely vital to any playoff aspirations this team will have, so getting on a roll would really pay dividends.
Kyle Wilson: All this guy does is have a nose for the net. Wilson has now registered three goals and three assists in eight career NHL games. For a team who has always lacked secondary scoring, Wilson might be the guy who can strengthen that critical element for success.
Marc Methot: For the guy who always seemed to bear too much of the brunt for last season’s defensive struggles, Methot has easily been the Blue Jackets most dependable, most consistent, well-rounded defenseman during this young season. Methot made many key blocks and broke up more than a few quality scoring chances by the Canadiens.
Scoring the Game’s First Goal: The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the fifth time this season. Additionally, they are now 5-0 when scoring the first goal of the game. For a team who at times possesses a fragile psyche, how critical is it for the Blue Jackets to tally that first goal?
Couldn’t really find anything bad to say about the Blue Jackets’ performance Tuesday.
Room for Improvement:
I’m really splitting hairs here, but the power play has to improve. Even though the Blue Jackets have scored a power play goal in four of the past five games — after being held without a power play goal the previous four games — there is still room for improvement.
Up next for the Blue Jackets is a trip to Phillips Arena to take on the Atlanta Thrashers.