CBJ faced off last night against the struggling Hurricanes. A team that has had a horrible season so far, played the night before (losing to the equally woeful Leafs), and is without their two biggest offensive threats in Eric Staal and ex-Jacket Ray Whitney (which was a bit of a disappointment, as Whits is on a very short list of ex-Jackets I wish we still had, so it would have been nice to see him play again). Should be easy pickings, right?
Which is of course the prompt for the Jackets to come out and play a lifeless and sloppy game, which they did for most of last night. Cole scored after a lackadaisical clearing attempt by Rick Nash got picked off, and it looked for an uncomfortably long time that the game would end 1-0 for the Hurricanes. Then, in a rapid-fire flurry at the start of the third, Filatov scored, followed quickly by the much-maligned Boll (who had an all-around strong game last night), and then by Rick Nash, who couldn’t let the fourth line have all the glory. Carolina potted another one later in the third, but the Jackets managed to hang on for the 3-2 win.
Ugly win, but enough to keep the Jackets atop the Central and thus in third place in the Conference. Ugly attendance as well, under 15k on a Saturday night. Granted, it wasn’t a marquee opponent, and probably more significant, Ohio State had a big game at 3:30 which didn’t end until around the start of the CBJ game.
Speaking of ugly, there were some scary moments early in the first period. Rick Nash went to the net, Cam Ward made the save, but as play went back up ice the other way, Ward was clearly hurt, and had to be helped off the ice. I was sitting above and behind Ward in 212, and initially figured he’d pulled a groin or a knee. But as he was helped off the ice, we could see a puddle of blood in the crease, and he left a trail to the bench. He did not return to the game and was in fact kept overnight in the hospital for observation with a cut on his leg. Hopefully Ward doesn’t have to miss too much time, as the ‘Canes can’t really afford any more bad news.
Here’s the video of the Ward injury, if you are so inclined:
Detroit on Wednesday. They’re struggling somewhat uncharacteristically this season, so this could be a chance for the Jackets to get some small measure of revenge for the playoffs.