Monday, 21 November 2011

Blue Jackets Extinguish The Flames

Antoine Vermette notched the game-winner early in the first period as the Columbus Blue Jackets earned back-to-back wins Monday night at Nation Wide Arena beating the Calgary Flames 4-1.

The Blue Jackets were quick to the offense with goals coming from Jeff Carter and Vermette before the 10-minute mark of the first period.  Carter, just over three minutes into the game fired a wrist shot that went bar down on Flames goalie Henrik Karlsson. 

When a so called “natural goal scorer” is in a slump, all it takes is one before they seem to remember how to light the lamp again.  Carter, who has played only 10 games this season due to injury, has seemed to have found his stride again that all Blue Jacket fans were hoping for.

The Blue Jackets continued to apply pressure and just 3:43 after Carters goal Vermette scored a nice goal between his legs on the door step.  Yes folks, it is YouTube worthy.  Despite being outshot 11-10, the Blue Jackets took a two goal lead into the first intermission.

Carter opened the scoring in the second period when the Flames found themselves in some penalty trouble just over five-minutes into the frame giving the Blue Jackets a two-man advantage.  Prospal added his second of three helpers with the other assist coming from James Wisniewski.
Marc Methot took a penalty shortly after the Carter goal for holding and the National Hockey League’s worst penalty kill (73.1% efficiency) surrendered another as Mark Giordano tucked a snap shot just inside the post beating Sanford blocker side. 

The Flames offense was silent from there.

The Blue jackets who have notoriously fallen apart in third period’s this season, maintained composure minimizing the pressure from the Flames by keeping them to the outside in the defensive zone.  Another strong factor contributing to their success was their transition game. 

The team worked as a cohesive unit for 60-minutes of hockey making sure to complete passes leaving their own end and more importantly, made sure to get the puck deep into Calgary’s end for most of the third period; something that has been a constant “work-in-progress” for a number of seasons now.   

The flames pressured throughout the third period, but the Blue Jackets who looked completely rejuvenated in front of Curtis Sanford continued were rewarded with an empty-net goal from Captain Rick Nash late in the period. 

The 4-1 win is the Blue Jackets first back-to-back wins since February 2011.

Sanford is continuing to shine with the opportunity he has been given, moving to 2-0-1 in four games with a .943 SV% and a 1.46 GAA, he has certainly proven for the time being that he could be the answer to the goalie predicament that has plagued the Blue Jackets so far. 

The team has certainly elevated their game since Sanford has been between the pipes.  Their feet seem to be moving and they have a sense of flow to their game that symbolizes a Blue Jackets team that is finally starting to click.  It has been long overdue but it’s nice to see the team moving in the proper direction.

Prospal finished the game with three assists to improve his team leading totals to 6-12-18 over 20 games.  Nikitin picked up his fourth point in five games since being acquired from St. Louis.

The Blue jackets will head to New Jersey for a matchup against the Devils on Wednesday night.  Sanford is reported to be getting the start, as rightfully deserved, as the team looks to improve the win streak to three games.

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