So who’s excited to have Greene back? Everyone! With, perhaps, the exception of Keaton Ellerby.
I had the privilege of attending this game in the PR section of Staples Center, and that’s a rare treat for me. Lovely seats (see below image for the view)
Yet another game officiated like a playoff game. A lot of rough play was allowed by the refs, since most of it was both ways and so would have just been coincidental penalties. Scuffles broke out many, many times. Kopitar, who usually keeps a pretty cool demeanor, did a little chirping himself after a Jacket took a shot at Williams. The Blue Jackets outplayed us in the 3rd period by quite a bit, but Quick and our renewed Defensive pairings did a great job keeping the team going. Oddly enough, we saw pretty good production out of the Clifford/Nolan/Richardson lineup. I may have to redact some of my worries about Clifford from the SJ game a few days back, as he played a really strong game tonight. Great pressure, great timing and impressive positioning. Brown seemed to be struggling a bit tonight with his passes and puck control, except for an exceptional play where he was skating 1 v 4 and still got into the zone to dump it in for a line change. Again, I’m very unimpressed with Penner’s performance (He’s got a -1 on the season, 2 goals, 10 assists, 16 penalty minutes, and 61 shots on the season). He doesn’t seem to fit in with any of the lines, and there’s a good reason he was healthy scratched multiple times. Lucky for us, he’s an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of this season. I’ll always be thankful for his contribution in the 2012 Cinderella Stanley Cup run, but his time is past. Matt Greene looked great. He dished out a few huge hits, received a few hits. Some great slapshots from the point… I’m excited to see what happens once he knocks some of the rust off. Every time he touched the puck, the crowd went nuts. Kopitar also notched his 300th career assist tonight.
Bobrovsky did a great job in net tonight. Columbus controlled the game physically, and they seemed to have better chemistry tonight than our beloved team did. I laud our defensive efforts, it kept us in the game when it could have turned for the worse. Lumbus was especially dominant in the 3rd period.
0-1, Doughty, Assists Richards and Kopitar
Powerplay goal, started with a 4 on 4 due to Williams and Wisniewski coincidentals. Switched to a 4 on 3 due to Dalton Prout’s hooking call. Kopitar passes to Richards, Richards takes an open lane shot, and Doughty jumps on the rebound. Great job by Doughty getting open for the rebound, he was tied up just moments before. It looked like Doughty was trying to pass it to Carter for a quick one timer, but it bounced off a defender and in.
1-1, Prout, Assists Comeau and Tyutin
LA was having a rough time getting passes off and containing the Jackets. Quick was screened by both Muzzin and an opposing jersey, was down low and trying to track the puck, unfortunately couldn’t get eyes on it. Too many defenders in front of the crease, gave the Jackets the opportunity to cycle the puck and control the play. Quick pass changes the point of attack, Penner attempted to cut off the shot but probably just aided in cutting off Quick’s vision.
1-2, Clifford, Assists Nolan and Richardson
Shortly after the crowd was outraged due to the officiates not calling tripping, the grinder line crashed the Lumbus net. This line was excellent all night. Quick pass from Richardson to Nolan, who takes a quick shot, Clifford was back in the slot reading the situation, immediately jumps on the loose puck and jams it in. Great forecheck from this line all night, and with how hot Brobovsky was, crashing the net ended up being effective here.
Jonathan Quick had yet another very solid performance. The defensive lineup was very effective tonight, and if not for Penner and Muzzin accidentally cutting off his line of sight, he would have had a shut out tonight. Save percentage of .952%, Quick and the defensive pairings in front of him were the primary reason for the win tonight. In the video above, you can see Quick making a pretty impressive save. We see the athleticism and flexibility we love him for, and he shut down a quick one timer that could have easily been jammed in. The Jacket went for the open net, and due to great positioning and reflexes, Quick shut them down.
Sergei Bobrovsky has had a pretty epic run with the Jackets lately. In his last 5, he’s 4-1. Worst game in his last 5 starts was a .906. Of those last 5, the Jackets faced Minnesota and Anaheim. He was absolutely robbing people tonight. Several huge glove saves, great vision and reads of the play.
Healthy scratches tonight: Keaton Ellerby (to free up room for Greene), Colin Fraser, Alec Martinez, new sign Nick Shore, and Tyler Toffoli. At this point, I think Sutter’s got faith in Penner’s playoff performance and preparedness, otherwise he’d be scratching him and putting Fraser in instead.
Box Score, Stats for the Game
LAK 2, CBJ 1
Shots on Goal: LAK 23, CBJ 21
Hits: LAK 38, CBJ 50
Faceoff Wins: LAK 22, CBJ 25
Turnovers: LAK 12, CBJ 11
Takeaways: LAK 4, CBJ 6
Blocked Shots: LAK 17, CBJ 9
Penalty Minutes: LAK 8, CBJ 18
Inside the Staples Center Experience
Mike stuffed 5 Jersey Mikes subs down before the third period in order to earn everyone a free Jersey Mikes sub tonight. He did a great job Emcee’ing the Hooters Watch Party on Tuesday, then provided 18,000 subs. I assume he was warned and subsequently starved himself all day, but he’s still a champ in my book.
Bailey did a good job riling up the 100′s sections tonight. Clifford gave a pretty good interview during the Stars of the Game section, and TSC was absolutely PACKED tonight.
This or That was interesting, Matt Kemp vs Albert Pujols. The obvious crowd favorite was Matt Kemp, and the players overwhelmingly voted for Kemp as well. Doughty, who tends to have the longest and most entertaining answers, protested both players due to his beloved Jays not being included. I was expecting Lewis to once again provide an answer that was neither, but he failed us tonight.
Ashley of the Ice Crew impressed me with her throwing arm tonight, I swear she must have trained with the Dodgers while the rest of the crew were donning the blue half shirts.