If you like wide open hockey you got quite a show on Thursday. Scoring abounded and the third period did not disappoint. Columbus found themselves down 3-2 entering the 3rd and quickly behind 4-2 less than a minute in. Two-goal leads in the third are not safe apparently. From that point forward the Jackets outscored the Hawks 4-1. After Roslovic leveled the score at 4, CHI once again regained the lead on a Kane-to-DeBrincat one timer. Del Zotto evened the score firing a puck in just after the previous shot rang off the pipe. Stenlund finished Chicago off going 5-hole while being harassed. It wasn't the most sound hockey, especially defensively, but it was exciting to watch and the result is what mattered.
I had heard people talk about Laine's quick release, but to see it live (on video) is an experience. No one else on this team can release a puck with that quickness and accuracy. He opened the scoring on Saturday with just that: a quick, powerful and accurate release. The result of this game was not as favorable, however. The CBJ seemed to be in control, but a turnover in the 3rd and in OT allowed the Blackhawks to seize the extra point. Kane-to-DeBrincat will be heard throughout the league many times this season.
Lets talk results. The Jackets stole 2 points on Thursday and held on to 1 point on Saturday. The series yielded 3-of-4 possible points. In the month of February, Columbus has split each of the 2-game series netting a total of 7 points (12 possible). Currently they are on a 3-game point streak having taken victories against CAR (2/8/21) and CHI (2/11/21) and managing a point Saturday again against the Hawks.
The standings show C-Bus in 4th position in the division (according to points) but 5th based upon winning percentage. Columbus has an identical record to CHI, but more regulation victories (6-4). Dallas has a slightly better winning percentage but has played 4 less games.
Next up is CAR (only 1 game not a series) on Monday and a Thursday-Saturday series against a struggling NAS team. CAR is 3-0 at home, has a .750 winning percentage and is just above the CBJ in the standings (both have 18 points). The Preds are 2-5 in February, but 3 of those losses were to the Lightning. Detroit downed them in their last outing, only the 4th Red Wing victory of the season. The high-priced-talent up front for NSH have had their well-documented struggles this season. Ryan Johansen has yet to score a goal (only 4 assists) while Duchene has just started to find the net with 3 goals (on the season) all in February.
Lastly...Early (I mean real early) Returns
Trade comparison by-the-numbers:
Pierre-Luc Dubois: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists
Patrik Laine: 6 games, 4 goals, 1 assist
An extremely early comparison looks lopsided. The piece that sticks out to me is the games played category. Laine has been what Columbus needed, a goal scorer. He is one off the team lead in only 6 games played (vs. 16 games for Cam, who has 5 goals). Throw Roslovic into this comparison and it goes wildly out of control. Jack has played 9 games, scored 4 goals and has 5 assists. Are those the numbers you would look for in a 1C? I will revisit this throughout the season, but its starting off well for the Union Blue.