It's the Cabo san Lucas to Tony Romo
. It's the kryptonie to Clark Kent, the Jennifer Aniston to David Schwimmer. Call it what you want, Joe Louis Arena has not exactly felt like a La-Z-Boy to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
But they busted out a bag of Cheetos and made themselves at home tonight.
This time, it was the Blue Jackets who vaulted
to a multi-goal first period, earning their ice and sending the league-best Detroit Red Wings to their fifth straight loss last night, 5-1. A feel-good win for a feel-awfully-good effort.
Ironically, the last time the Blue Jackets scored three first-period goals was December 18, 2006 against the Red Wings in Columbus. While that game had a completely different make-up, the scoresheet still read identically tonight.
Chris Osgood was not at his best tonight
, but Pascal Leclaire wasn't heavily tested either. He made a handful of good saves and a couple of momentum-savers, but for the most part, the Red Wings couldn't generate anything inside the Columbus blueline.
A lot can be said about the five goal outburst, but the key to the Blue Jackets' victory was their defensive-zone coverage. They threw sticks in the lanes like Adam Sandler in Big Daddy
, and the Red Wings' frustration was obviously mounting as their offensive capabilities were hindered.
On the defensive end, the game puck goes to Ron Hainsey
. Arguably his best game of the season, he was physical in the corners, quick to loose pucks and made sound decisions without outlet passes and clears. He was a speeding bullet through the neutral zone, too. Dude needs to lead the rush more often.
He and Nikolai Zherdev's sticks must have homing beacons on them, because they find eachother more often John Walsh finds America's Most Wanted.
Enough can't be said about the importance of Fredrik Modin
to the Blue Jackets. While putting David Vyborny at center seemed to be a questionable move, Modin stepped up and won key offensive-zone draws, allowing he and Rick Nash to do the dirty work in the corners. The kind of work that makes Ken Hitchcock do the Macarena on the bench. I'd pay to see that.
As much as I'd like to see Michael Peca center that line
, splitting up the Chimera-Peca-Zherdev line would be heinous. For the Brule-Brassard-Fritsche line, Gilbert hasn't played a game like that in a long time. Good for him, hopefully he keeps it going. They cycled like an LG speed dryer tonight.
Had Modin played more than 13 games this year, one could make a fair argument that this team would be in a more admirable position right now. Such is not the case, but two points out on February 16th isn't a terrible place to be.