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Avalanche maximize chances, down Jackets 5-3

November 2, 2006

Remember the conundrums your friends would present you?  “Which would you rather have on a deserted island: an unlimited [beverage of your choice] supply or a working fridge?”  The glutton in you knows immediately that you really would need both.  What good is one without the other?

This is what it’s been like to be a Blue Jackets fan the last three games.

“Which would you rather have on your hockey team: offense or defense?”

Against the Kings and Devils last weekend the Blue Jackets provided a bit of defense, Pascal Leclaire in particular.  In those two games the opposition scored one goal on 59 shots, and the one goal allowed (Zach Parise), was as much luck as skill.  The Jackets lucked away with a win on Friday night, but Saturday could not muster any offense and fell to the Devils 1-0.

The Kings managed 38 shots while getting shutout, so you can rest that win solely on the shoulders of the goaltending.  The Devils only produced 21 shots on goal, so it appears the defense got a little more responsible.  But the offense only managed 22 shots, and very few legitimate scoring chances.

Ian Laperriere doing the wave

Ian Laperriere starts the wave (AP Photo)

I’ll be the first to admit that I only saw the last 20 seconds of the hockey game last night, as I was at the OSU exhibition basketball game.  But from the sounds of George and Bill over the radio waves and the numbers in the box scores, it looks/sounds like the offense came to life a little last night.  The Jackets outshot the Avalanche 44-22.  That statistic right there tells me a few things.  While shots on goal do not always correlate to scoring chances or even goals, I think they’re quite important.  You can survive on a lesser shooting percentage if you put more pucks on net.  If you’re only putting 16 shots on net per game (as the Jackets did against LA and NJ), you really need an unreal shooting percentage to win games.  So at first glance it seems like the offense is heading in the right direction after last night.

And based on shots against, it looks like the defense is doing some of its part as well.  So to those who actually saw the game (in person or on television), I ask you this: I’ve heard the word ‘turnovers’ quite a bit in the last twelve hours.  Do we blame the skaters and their turnovers for the loss, or was the goaltending not there?

I only saw the last Avalanche goal on replay (the Richardson unassisted goal), and that one looked very stoppable to me.  Of course I’ve never played goalie before, either. 

From the sounds of things, I’m slightly encouraged and think the Blue Jackets are starting to turn things around.  But if things don’t change quickly, Truth Serum’s wish to see the Blue Jackets in contention with a month to go will be a pipe dream.  The way things are going, it will take a lot of hard work and luck for the Blue Jackets not to be out of it by mid-January.

Let’s hope the Jackets can keep the shots against down on Friday when the Flames hop onto the Nationwide ice.

Game recaps

Next game

Friday night at home against Calgary.

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.

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