The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Both the power play and the power kill were very strong for Columbus. Though the kill was strong last year, the play had been lacking. This year, both are greatly improved, and both are leading (or close to it) in the entire NHL. Columbus scored on two of their seven advantages (28.6%) and killed off all five that they faced. Not only did they kill off five, but one of those was a 3-on-5, and they managed to score on it. If Columbus continues to dominate while either up or down a man, they should start committing penalties just to get there.
Steve Mason is probably one of the best goalies in the entire NHL. He won Rookie of the Year last year, and he was third in the Vezina Trophy voting. This season, however, Mason has been presenting an alternating front. Some games, he plays amazingly. Others, he just doesn't seem to be thinking about the game, or even there: “He struggled. He really struggled,” coach Ken Hitchcock said of him. "Mase has the power to be one of the best goalies this year, and he needs to be, if Columbus wants to win."
Where the heck was the defense during this game? While I understand that the two main defense players were out and injured, I don't understand how any NHL level defense man can play as badly as the Jackets did. They played sloppy, turned the puck over, and scored two of the goals on Mason (skates kicking pucks plagued Columbus last year too). The defense had no control of the game, and they simply played like they were in Syracuse and the AHL. If Columbus wants to win again, they need a much, much stronger defense.
On Thursday, the 22nd of October, the Jackets will be playing the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton. While the two teams have not met this season, they do know each other quite well. Both teams have been playing well this season, and they are both strong teams. Expect the game to be a contest between Mathieu Garon (backup goalie for Columbus, and former goalie for Edmonton) and Nikolai Khabibulin (goalie for Edmonton). Whichever goalie makes the most saves will win in this close game.