Monday night’s game was one of the more frustrating games experienced by the Blue Jackets and their fans, and I am sure the post-game interviews will show the frustration. The boys brought everything they could on the road with them, and the Consol Energy Center crowd was silenced through much of the game. But despite their tenacity, CBJ fell 2-1 to the Penguins tonight.
Through the first period, the NBCSN commentators could not believe that the Jackets had managed to shut up the Pens fans and they admired the energy CBJ were playing with. The first period ended 0-0, and CBJ fans were happy with the effort of the team in white. But in the second, things were different.
Evgeni Malkin showcased his speed for the first goal, beating Fedor Tyutin wide and cutting to the middle before lifting the puck over McElhinney’s blocker. After this, the Pens began to reclaim most of the momentum. The second period continued on with the Pens gaining more and more momentum, setting up for the inevitable in the third.
When things are going right, you get good bounces. And that’s just what Pittsburgh got in the third. Pascal Dupuis beat Tyutin wide (deja vu??) and threw a backhand towards the net. McElhinney did what he could, deflecting the puck away, but a stopping Sidney Crosby managed to be in the right place, and it bounced off his foot and in. I suppose those are the bounces you get when you’re Sid the Kid.
All was not lost, however, despite the lack of Brandon Dubinsky and the frustration of the game, as Matt Calvert scored with just a minute to go. Making the most of a bouncing puck, Calvert picked up a pass from Johansen that snuck through bodies and lifted it over Fleury to break the shutout. But it turned out to be a bit too late, and the game ended 2-1.
Even though its one more in the L column, the boys fought hard tonight and neither goal was really awful. I think Tyutin is going to want to work on gapping up on forwards as they cross the line, but I understand that is a tall order on Malkin or Dupuis. All in all, I am proud of the effort tonight, and I look forward to seeing the effort pay off against New Jersey tomorrow night.