What a zany night in Columbus.
Blue Jackets lead by two, Oilers score four straight, Blue Jackets come back with two goals in 54 seconds to tie and then win it with 1:09 to play in regulation. Neither team had the desire to play anything resembling defense, and the Blue Jackets won 5-4.
Not sure what I thought would happen going into a Columbus/Edmonton game featuring Steve Mason and Dwayne Roloson between the pipes, but this was weird even by those standards. If you’re like me and you enjoy a team grinding out 2-1 Ws more than a 13-12 shootout win, this clearly wasn’t the game for you headed into the night, but there was something about the game that had me intrigued.
The game also happened to be the NHL debut of Columbus netminder Steve Mason, who proved not totally incompetent in net. I’m sure that’s a welcome change of pace for the Blue Jackets after that debacle of a performance that Freddy Norrena handed in for most of the team’s overtime loss to the Islanders the other night. I mean, sure, he gave up four goals to the Oilers, who aren’t exactly running the same type of offensive dynamo as the mid-’80s iteration of the team, but most of the goals he did give up (particularly the one to Ethan Moreau, of all people) were absolutely ridiculous snipes.
At the other end of the ice, Dwayne Roloson was a trainwreck. Apart from the very pretty snapper from Kristian Huselius that drew first blood and Derek Brassard’s goal on an odd-man rush, the Blue Jackets scored on nothing but second and third chances that, in most cases, Rolie probably should’ve held onto. He made 33 saves, but if he actually held onto two or three of them, the Oil would’ve walked away with an easy win. Things are never easy in Edmonton, but this would be a much better team if their goalies’ collective goalie stats weren’t 3.00/.899. The fact that seven of their 12 games this season have been decided by one goal is incredible enough, but they’ve been fortunate to go 5-0-1 in those before tonight, and that kind of “success” (it’s luck, really) doesn’t last forever.
To be fair, though, the defending tonight was a total gong show for both teams, but especially so for Edmonton on Manny Malhotra’s game-winner. You have to watch a looooooooot of hockey to see 3-on-2 defense that’s that bad from an NHL team. Honestly, an incredible amount. Both D corps were almost criminally negligent on at least two goals apiece tonight. Kyle Brodziak’s first goal of the year came when he was left alone in the slot for what must have, to Mason, felt like an hour and the low breakdown on Moreau’s shorty was equally bad. For Edmonton, the comedy of errors was highlighted by Malhotra’s late dagger, but not to be forgotten is the standing-around in which the Oilers’ defense engaged for Huselius’ goal. Had the Souray-Staios pairing had pockets in their hockey pants, their hands would have been firmly planted in them. Despite all that stellar defense though, the power plays were still ineffective, going a combined 2 for 11.
New Jersey 4, Tampa Bay 3 (SO)
The black man that represents change won this one too. Kevin Weekes wasn’t bad at all for the second straight game in Marty Brodeur’s place, turning aside 35 shots and winning almost 400 electoral votes. Patrik Elias, who was rumored to be nursing an injury and was considered a game-time decision, did just fine as well, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Jay Pandolfo put the Devs up 3-2 with less than five minutes to go, but Marty St. Louis leveled 1:30 later to force overtime. Requisite Stamkos ice time update: 13:52.
Anaheim 5, St. Louis 2
The Chris Kunitz-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry line keeps rolling. Another three goals and four assists between them tonight, and Perry scored the game-winner early in the second period before Getzlaf added two insurance goals, one into an empty net. Chris Mason was just awful for the Blues, conceding four goals on 26 shots. Jonas Hiller stopped 30 of 32 to pick up his second win.