This may have been the most gratifying CBJ game I’ve attended this season. As could be expected, the arena was overrun with drunken, chanting hordes of Sabres fans (As an aside, whenever the Sabres make one of their rare appearances at Nationwide, I rethink a little more my desire to have the Jackets move to the Eastern Conference). And the Jackets just took them out of it and quieted them down.
It was not really a dominating performance by Columbus in terms of the run of play. The lopsided score was mostly down to a poor goaltending performance by Patrick Lalime, starting with the weird goal scored off a half-ice dump-in by Milan Jurcina, which bounced off the boards, hit Lalime on the back of the skate and went in the net. It can happy to any goaltender (as a former goalie, yeah, it’s happened to me), but it did pretty much set the tone for the night.
At the other end, Steve Mason was looking much more like last season’s Calder winner. The “You’ve been Mase’d” graphic made an appearance on the scoreboard, and a couple more saves could have merited it. Mason did get some good luck as well, the crossbar saving one goal, and his defense bailing him out when he got caught out behind the net.
Just one of those nights when everything goes right for the Jackets and wrong for their opponents. All the sweeter when it happens in a sold-out Nationwide Arena that’s 40% full of fans of the opposing team. The “Go Home Buffalo” chant rising out of the crowd in the final minutes was the icing on the cake.
For those who keep track of such things (why?), last night was the first time all season I’ve paid to park in the garage. Made it all the way to February parking on the street. And I didn’t even really try to find a place on the street. It was also the first time this season I bought food at the arena, as Chipotle looked packed at 5:15. So the most gratifying game of the season was also the most expensive for me (although on a pure dollar per minute basis, the St. Louis game I went to a couple weeks ago, bought a $9 beer and left halfway through the first period due to being in a state of utter meltdown about some work stuff…well, better not to think too much about THAT). Glad that worked out.
On an off-topic note: seriously, run out to your local record store or your internet downloading machine, or however you kids get music these days, and get RJD2’s new album. Listening to it right now as I write this.
Claude Noel now 2-0 as Jackets coach. The Jackets remain in fourteenth place.