October 25, 2011
Kidding aside, it was an impressive win for the Jackets, and brief moment of redemption for Howson.
The guy who got the Blue Jackets going? RJ Umberger(notes), who gave the franchise a 5-year vote of confidence last month with a contract extension. He outworked Brad Stuart(notes) and muscled home a goal just 21 seconds into the game.
After Darren Helm(notes) tied the game at 4:54, Ryan Johansen(notes) — the rookie center and a Howson draft pick — did the previously unthinkable for the Blue Jackets, which was score on the power play.
In the second period, a seeing-eye knuckle-puck from rookie and Howson draft pick John Moore(notes), that looked like it deflected off of Drew Miller's(notes) glove, beat Ty Conklin(notes) top shelf for the 3-1 lead. Derek MacKenzie(notes) closed the door with the empty netter, with Grant Clitsome(notes) picking up his third helper of the night.
Steve Mason(notes), whom Howson's backed almost to a fault, was solid again in stopping 30 shots, including 10 in the third period. According to Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch, Mason left the game for 2:33 with a shoulder injury and "got treatment from docs and insisted on going back into the game."
It was a different effort from the Jackets, a more complete effort. This was personified by a shift by Rick Nash's(notes) line with Vinny Prospal(notes) and Derick Brassard(notes), who cycled in the Detroit zone for 1:10 before the end of the second period.
It's one win. They need to post about a .630 winning percentage for the rest of the season to reverse course and make the playoffs. The hole they've dug may be too deep.
But at least they're not oh-for-October. History won't be made.