Not a whole lot to entertain in this one beyond what Ken Hitchcock revealed in his pre-game locker room talk, which aired on the Blue Jackets FSN feed. No surprising state secrets, but it was a nice picture of how an opposing coach prepares his team to foil the Islanders' system.
While win the Blue Jackets did, the foiling of the system was still due to personnel and/or execution (albeit with a much stronger Islanders effort): The Islanders power play was tepid until their final, late-game chance to try to close it to 3-2. Trent Hunter's one deficiency -- lesser speed -- hindered him from keeping Jason Chimera from breaking free on the Blue Jackets' second goal. Sean Bergenheim did the legwork that Bergenheim is known for to earn himself a breakaway, but he was caught and poke-checked by the speedy long reach of Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash -- who is an asset unlike any the Islanders have.
Nonetheless, a few relative bright spots:
- A return to form for Joey MacDonald, who made several excellent stops, particularly in the 11-2 shot barrage Columbus opened with in the first 10 minutes. The Isles were outshot 35-25;
- Richard Park, scoring a classic Park shortie (frightening that Andy Hilbert's clear was so awful, though, and depended on the grace of a bounce over point man Mike Commodore's stick);
- Tim Jackman -- in the smallest amount of ice time this side of side of Mitch Fritz -- continuing to show he's a speedier, cheaper, more overspeed-ready depth player than, say, Jon Sim. An early whistle robbed Jackman of a goal.
We're at six losses and counting, folks, with a healthier (barring tonight's departures from the game in Montreal), recharged Capitals team up next. The road ahead is long and treacherous, but there will be entertaining stories and debates to keep it interesting.