It's hard not to overlook the ridiculous goaltending of Pascal Leclaire through his first two starts, but 60-for-60 to start the year isn't too shabby.
The Blue Jackets put Saturday's disappointing loss behind them, and moved on to Wednesday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Coach Ken Hitchcock was not particularly impressed with the team's play in the final period Saturday, and made it a point in practice to shore up the turnover binge that cost them dearly in Minnesota.
Michael Peca looked strong in his Blue Jackets debut, and excelled in the faceoff circle-no surprise there. His line of Dan Fritsche, himself and Gilbert Brule was speedy all night long, and forced the puck deep and pressured the Coyote defense early and often.
The experiment of Fredrik Modin at center showed promise; it was almost disheartening to watch Phoenix try to get the puck away from the top line of Nash-Modin-Vyborny. Hitchcock loves the big, strong centers, and he may have found a solid trio at the top.
The Jackets got on the board midway through the first period with Manny Malhotra's first of the year. Fitting for a guy who has worked extremely hard to improve his game in the offseason, and he got a great pass from buddy Jason Chimera to put Columbus up 1-0.
Early in the second period, Jason Chimera had the favor returned after Jan Hejda's shot from the left point carromed off his shin pad and behind David Aebischer. The goal went to review (it was initially waved off) and was re-awarded after a quick call upstairs.
The highlight of the night (other than Leclaire) was rookie Jared Boll's first NHL goal- and it was a beauty. Jason Chimera started the play in his own end, and Boll alertly saw the puck come free and headed up ice just as Malhotra chipped it off the wall. Boll was in free, and roofed a sick shot over Aebischer for his first career goal.
The cannon was alive again tonight, and the Jackets improved to 2-0 at home for only the second time in franchise history.
An opposing team had yet to score in Nationwide Arena this year, and thanks to Columbus' perfect penalty-killing, it stayed that way.
The Jackets are back in action Saturday, when they travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Faceoff is at 9 pm EST.