Last season, when the Columbus Blue Jackets made it to their first ever Stanley Cup playoffs, they were put up against the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings easily swept the series, and they outright embarrassed the Jackets. This added fuel to what Columbus views as their biggest rivalry (convenient that we Ohioans hate everything from Michigan, thanks to some little war), and it was to serve as motivation for last nights game. The Wings were supposed to come into Nationwide Arena, and Columbus was supposed to get their revenge. Somebody, somewhere, didn’t get the memo.
Prior to the starting face-off of last night’s game, it was looking pretty good for Columbus. Their team was playing well, goalie Steve Mason looked to be back on his form, and the Wings were injured. With this in mind, the Jackets thought that they could easily handle the Red Wings at home. Obviously, the Wings didn’t think so. Just one minute into the game, Daniel Cleary (3) shot the puck past Mason. Two minutes later, Pavel Datsyuk (3) got a goal too. Quickly, the Wings scored in droves, as Kris Draper (3) and Niklas Kronwall (3) scored early in the period. After Draper scored, Mason was pulled for backup Mathieu Garon, which slowed down the Wings a bit.
Heading into the second, down 4-0, Coach Ken Hitchcock put Mason back in goal. It seemed as though he had lectured the players during the intermission, and that Mason, along with the rest of the team, was ready to play the game. A goal by Rick Nash (12) showed that the Jackets were not out of it, as they were able to keep on scoring. Alas, that was the only goal of the night for Columbus. Detroit took control again, and added more bodies to their massacre. Todd Bertuzzi (3), Ville Leino (3), Niklas Kronwall (4), and Justin Abdelkader (2 and 3) all scored, giving Columbus their worst defeat in franchise history.
Derick Brassard said it best: “At home, it is humiliating.”
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
While it is hard to find anything good in games like this, Nikita Filatov certainly was. The much acclaimed rookie has started the season out slowly, and has been scratched (healthy) for several games. Hitchcock was attempting to build him into a large force, something with skill, and a team player. Tonight, with 14 minutes on the ice (a new record for him), Filatov became that player. The entire game, even when down 9-1, Filatov was racing around, hitting people, fighting for the puck, and taking shots. Sure, the kid might not show up on the board, but he played damn well last night.