Columbus Falls In Shootout To Stars

 And I am very glad they did .

 When the pre-game show started , Ludwig and Radigan were talking about Zubov having hip surgery . That was not a positive thing to hear . If you remember , Patrick Stephan (former Stars’ number one draft pick)had hip surgery after a very short and disappointing career and never returned . I , personally , wonder if Zubov will ever return . I hope he does , though .

 After that horrible piece of news , they announced that Ott , Lundqvist and Robidas would be returning . That was a very good bit of information for Our Stars . I knew that even though Ott would not be able to fight , those three would still make a big impact on the team . They obviously did .

 This game started out with both teams intent on taking out their opponents’ players . The heavy hitting started off immediately . Unfortunately for Our Stars , Nash started the scoring . Eriksson evened things up with Richards’ help about two minutes later . The Jackets’ rookie Brassard danced in on the powerplay and beat Marty with relative ease . Our Stars attacked back and Neal put a good hit on a Jackets’ player and Brassard took offense to it and came over to fight Neal . Neal promptly laid three solid punches on Brassards’ face and he had enough and quickly told Neal the same . Neal’s hits cut him from eyebrow to ear . Brassard never returned to the game after that solid ass-whipping . After that cleared up , Barch and Boll had a turn . It was far less spectacular and ended in a spin cycle . Later on Eriksson earned his second goal of the period from Lundqvist’s and Richards’ hard work . This period may have had Our Stars on the up side of things , but their defense was certainly lacking .

 The second period started out with the Jackets going down two men almost immediately . Our Stars attacked and Eriksson earned his first hat trick from a rebound from Ribs . The only shameful thing about the goal was the fact that Eriksson was crosschecked in the back after the goal by Mike Commodore and it went uncalled . I was proud that Richards came in after the crosscheck to defend Eriksson . The second part of the powerplay ended with Niskanen bombing his shot from the blue line and Neal tipping it just over LeClaire . I thought originally that it was Niskanen’s goal . I am sure that Zubov had called him and cursed him in fifteen languages about playing better and shooting more from the blueline . Our Stars followed that up with a horrid defensive play and Umberger scored a rebound goal from the backdoor area when he was left completely unguarded – just like Nash was when he scored in the first period . Our Stars apparently took exception to that and they attacked back and , with the hard work of Brunnstrom and Lundqvist , Richards put one past LeClaire . Petersen was erased and Barch took exception to it and he and Commodore had a go . Barch certainly got the worse end of things . He came out spitting blood and bloody knuckles . On the very next play , Niskanen was headlocked to the ice and had his helmet forcibly removed by one of the Jackets jerks and somehow Lundqvist took a roughing call out of the very nasty shoving match that resulted . Our Stars defense could not stop the Jackets after the powerplay and Huselius scored . Marty got totally mixed up on the play and literally moved out of the way so he could score . This period showed that both teams had enormous room for improvement in their defenses . Often times they left players open and allowed coverage break downs everywhere .

 The third period was pretty weak compared to the first two . Nash did tie things up with another goal scored in the same way he scored the first goal . I had hoped that Our Stars would pay a little more attention to the backdoor area , but they obviously did not . Our Stars seemed to want to nurse a one goal lead to the end . In order to do that , they needed to cover better thatn they did . This period was horrible for Our Stars . We only had two shots on goal in the entire period . To thier credit , there was only one extended stay in our zone for the Jackets , but there were no extended stays for us . 

 In the overtime period , Malhotra had his goal waved off after a lengthy review . I agree with the NHL that it was kicked in and not just because I am a Stars fan . Our Stars were beaten badly in the overtime period . If the game had been decided here , we definately would have lost this game . BUT , that was not the case .

 The shootout started with the bang that Richards put behind a shocked LeClaire . After Huselius and Nash both failed to beat Marty miserably , Ribs psyched out LeClaire and beat him rather smartly to make Richards’ goal stand up as the game winning goal .

 This was a much needed win . Despite the obvious room for improvement for both teams , Our Stars managed to pull themselves out of the fire  . It was definately not a pretty game , but end the end only points and the win are what counts . We got the win and Eriksson got his first career hat trick . I am only sad that I could not throw my hat .

 MY STARS of the game ;
 1. Loui Eriksson – Easily a shoe-in for this award for the hat trick , but he also earned it by drawing calls , solid defense and going to the net to fight for position .
 2. Brad Richards – Three assists and two goals and one of them the game winner had him pegged for the first star unless somebody else got a hat trick .
 3. Marty Turco – While he certainly did not play stellar in regulation , he truly won the game in overtime and in the shootout . He earned his paycheck with the big stops he made .
 4. James Neal – He deserves this just for beating the crap out of Brassard with only three punches . I do not remember seeing anybody NOT boxing open up a cut that big that fast in a long time . That was awesome !
 Honourable Mentions ;
   Mike Ribeiro for seeing the ice well and getting two assists . 
     Trevor Daley for saying that Robidas was his favorite hockey player .
       Stephane Robidas for doing all the stuff he always does and never complaining desipte having his jaw busted into peices just a few games ago . 
         Steve Ott gets recognition for being the excellent antagonizer that he is . It was good to see him mouthing at the Jackets’ players from bench to bench . I sure did miss that little ice troll ………..

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~ by Adam on December 20, 2008.

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