On the edge of your seat: that is the best way to describe what the Blue Jackets game was like Wednesday night. With the Blue Jackets on the verge of making the playoffs, for the first time in franchise history, and sitting only three points behind fifth place in the Western Conference, Nationwide Arena was roaring. The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, have a secure position in the playoffs, and are currently fourth in the conference (only four points above Columbus). The fan base never let up, the Jackets played a killer game, and both teams were, quite frankly, great. The game was characterized by many scoring opportunities, on each side, and amazing saves by both goalies. It was a great game.
The Chicago Blackhawks got off to an early lead, with Chicago’s Dave Bolland scoring just one minute into the game. All hope seemed lost for the Blue Jackets, who usually head south if scored on early, but they somehow managed to fight back into the game. Just two and a half minutes later, Columbus’ R.J. Umberger tied the game up, at one a piece. The Jackets did not let up, and, at the midway mark of the first period, Derek Dorsett scored to give them the lead. Chicago tied the game at 2 a piece near the end of the first period.
With eight minutes gone in the second, Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin was sent to the sin bin for hooking. This allowed Chicago’s Jonathan Toews to score Chicago’s only power play goal. Just a minute later, Columbus Captain Rick Nash scored the tying goal, a hard angle shot that just dribbled in. The rest of the period was spent as the teams took turns getting breakaways and shots off, which the goalies easily handled. Very rarely during the period were both teams at full strength at the same time, as there were seven penalties dolled out in total.
The third, much like the second, was a period of missed opportunities and good saves. Both teams had good chances, and both goalies did very well. Columbus got lucky several times, as Goalie Steve Mason would get an initial block, and then the defense would get in to keep the puck out of the net. Mase just didn’t seem able to hold on to the puck. The refs were not really liked by the crowd during this period, as they called diving on Columbus’ Jared Boll (who clearly was tripped) and boarding on Rostislav Klesla. The crowd let them know their displeasure, as the refs endured about three minutes of solid booing. The period ended with neither team converting on their opportunities, and both of them grabbing that needed point in the race to the playoffs.