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Posts Tagged ‘Southeast Division.’

Muller loses coaching debut at Carolina against Florida

 

Kirk Muller Nov 2008 at Legends Classic in Toronto (By Horge & Jeangagnon via wikipedia commons)

45-year-old Kirk Muller is the new coach of the struggling Carolina Panthers, succeeding Paul Maurice.

Muller, a native of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, was a left winger during his 19-year career from 1984-2003.

Muller was a 1984 NHL Draft choice of the New Jersey Devils, second pick overall.

Muller also played for Montreal, the New York Islanders, Toronto, Florida and Dallas.

He had hoped to get his team off to a good start, but the Florida Panthers showed why their leading the NHL’s Southeast Division, with a 3-1 win in Muller’s coaching debut.

The Hurricanes have a disappointing record of 8-14-4 for 20 points.

 

Info compiled from Carolina Panthers & Florida Panthers news

Blue Jackets start fast en route to demolishing Chicago, 8-3

Columbus, Ohio–The Columbus Blue Jackets have rarely had a so-called easy game this season. But Thursday night’s Central Division clash against the Chicago Blackhawks would definitely qualify as one.

Columbus scored in every period, 2 in the first, 4 in the second and 2 in the third to completely baffle the number 1 team in the Western Conference. It’s baffling because the Jackets came into the game 0-2-2 against Chicago this season.

The Jackets came out of the locker room with much aggressiveness as they scored in the first :32 seconds of the game as Mike Commodore, not known as scorer, shot the puck off a tough angle and past Chicago’s shaky goaltender Cristobal Huet, for a quick 1-0 lead.

Chicago, a little perturbed about being behind to a team that they should handle easily, tried to get a fight started as RW Adam Burish got tangled up in the corner with Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets. The officials gave Dorsett a roughing penalty on the play. Then defenseman Brent Seabrook got tangled up with Dorsett later in the period, but nothing came of it.

Samuel Pahlsson had 2 assists (CBJ)

Columbus went up 2-0 as Rick Nash had an open shot, but got the puck to Kristian Huselius who also was open, and he put it past Huet to make it 2-0 at the 12:08 mark of the first period. It was Huselius’ 3rd goal against Chicago and 22nd of the season.

The Blackhawks did come alive towards the end of the first period but it was clear, that they did not come out of the locker room ready to match the Blue Jackets intensity.

In the second period, Chicago started to show why they’re the number 1 team in the Western Conference with 99 points. They came out of the locker room with an urgency and it paid off as RW Kris Versteeg scored off a rush at the 2:15 mark to cut the lead down to 2-1 Columbus.

Everybody in Nationwide Arena started buzzing after that goal, because they’ve seen it happen over and over all season, that the Jackets will dominate the first period and come out flat in the second and fall behind in the game. They’ve seen it happen against the Blackhawks before, but on this night the Blue jackets were not going to be denied or stopped in beating the Blackhawks.

Columbus continued to take advantage of gaps in the Chicago defense and scored another goal to answer Versteeg’s tally. Kristian Huselius, who has seen consistency and a rebirth in his game since Claude Noel took over for Ken Hitchcock as the coach, scored on a rebound shot at the 4:58 mark and it was 3-1. Huselius scored his 4th goal of the season versus Chicago and 23rd on the season.

Mike Commodore scored :32 into game (CBJ)

Then, all 14,573 in attendance saw something that they rarely see in a hockey game, a penalty shot. Jakub Voracek, one of the up-and -coming stars on the Blue Jackets team, was off-to-the-races with the puck, moving in 1-on-1 against the goalie when one of the Blackhawks defenseman took him off his skates. So that meant a penalty shot for Voracek going one-on-one against Cristobal Huet who was already having a bad night in goal.

Voracek drove towards the goal, and got Huet out of position and put the puck into the low right side of the net and shockingly it was 4-1 Columbus. The last time Columbus had a home penalty shot goal,  prior to last night was on March 19, 2001 vs. Nashville, when David Vyborny beat  Tomas Vokoun at 18:01 of the third period in a 2-1 loss.  The scoring wasn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.

Antione Vermette was about to get into scoring column. He took a Chicago mistake and went streaking in on goalie Cristobal Huet and he scored unassisted at the 14:17 mark and it was 5-1 and the rout was continuing. By now, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville had seen enough of  Huet and decided to give Antti Niemi a shot at cooling down the Jackets for the rest of the second period anyway.

It was to no avail as center Andrew Murray picked up a loose puck and shoveled it past Niemi making the score 6-1. The Blue Jackets amazingly had scored 4 goals against one of the NHL’s best teams and best defenses in  the second period to open up daylight at 6-1.

The Blackhawks came out in the third period and scored a couple of goals but the Blue Jackets did the same with Antione Vermette scoring his second of the night and 25th of the season and Mike Blunden his first of the campaign.

The Blue Jackets by far, had played their best game of the season and left fans and media wondering where were all of these goals, inspirational, physical and emotional play back in December and January when the team basically fell out of playoff contention.

Maybe it was a glimpse of what we’ll see in 2010-2011.

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM (to listen to an audio file, simply click on the number)

44 648 Adam Burish Chicago Rw Chicago was mistake prone all game long

44 651 Adam Burish On goalie Cristobal Huet taking the heat for another bad game

44 654 Antione Vermette Columbus Finally an easy game for a change

44 656 Antione Vermette Scoring in the first 32 seconds of the game got them rolling

44 657 Antione Vermette A career high 25th goal tonight feels good in a win

44 659 Antione Vermette Was he surprised that they embarrassed Cristobal Huet in goal

GAME NOTES

* The Blue Jackets are 19-11-7 at home.

* Columbus is 30-32-12 for 72 points on the season.

* Are 25-24-7 vs. Chicago.

* Are 15-10-4 vs. Chicago at Nationwide Arena.

* The CBJ are 20-12-5 when scoring the first goal of the sesason.

* Columbus is 13-7-5 when leading after the first period.

* 23-6-4 when leading after the second period.

* The eight goals scored by Columbus matches a club single game record overall and is most the club has scored at home.

The club record of eight goals was set March 7, 2009 at Detroit, a game Columbus won 8-2.

The previous high for goals scored at home was seven, set February 8, 2006 against Los Angeles in a 7-4 victory.

* The five-goal margin of victory matches a club record at home.

The record had been set four times previously (February 26, 2009 vs. Calgary, 5-0–most recent).

* The 11 combined goals between the clubs also matches a home franchise record.

The record had been set three times previously (December 28, 2006 vs. Detroit, a 7-4 loss–most recent).

* The Blackhawks currently sit atop the Central Division with 99 points, ten points clear of second-place Nashville with two games in hand.

* Chicago has not won a division title since finishing in first place in the Norris Division in 1992-93 season.

* The Blackhawks have occupied first place in the Central Division since November 9. The last time Chicago did not own at least a share of first place in the division was on November 8 when they were in second (8-5-2) behind first place Columbus (9-5-2). That was when the Blue Jackets were playing well.

* Chicago has won 11 of its last 14 games against Central Division opponents, and owns a 14-6-0 mark against division rivals overall. Washington (17-3-1) in the Southeast Division is the only NHL team with a better record within their division.

Blue Jackets minus Rick Nash, beats Atlanta 2-1

Columbus, O.- The Blue Jackets played last night’s game without their captain and best player, Rick Nash who is out day-to-day with lower body injuries. Usually, it spells diasaster for Columbus when Nash is not in the lineup. But Columbus didn’t miss a beat without Nash and from the opening face-off to the final buzzer, they kept the pressure on Atlanta and their goaltender, Johan Hedberg.

R.J. Umberger (cbj)

Mathieu Garon (cbj)

It’s hard to believe that Atlanta, an Eastern Conference team and a member of the Southeast Division, is fighting for a playoff spot. They sit in 10th place behind the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins for that coveted 8th spot. This is a team that most fans wouldn’t recognize their roster. The only recognizable players would be 48-year-old Chris Chelios, (who was making his season debut last night), former Blue Jacket Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg and the Marty Reasoner, who was a scratch last night. Atlanta even has a better record than Columbus, 28-28-10. Having said that, Columbus has better players and better talent and it shows that it has underachieved all season as compared to Atlanta, who has overachieved with less talent. Go figure that.

Columbus used their high energy and entertaining hockey to score first in the opening period.  Capitalizing on a power play opportunity stemming from an interference call on the Thrashers’ Nik Antropov, the Jackets scored as R.J. Umberger scored his 2oth goal of the season on a deflection off of Chris Chelios and a 1-0 lead.

The crowd of  13,459 were thrilled with home team’s high-energy level and they weren’t going to be disappointed in the second period.  The second period had a slower pace but the Jackets kept the pressure on Atlanta Goalie Johan Hedberg as Kristian Huselius made it 2-0 at the 15:25 mark on a rebound shot in a crowd off another deflection. For Huselius, that was his 18th goal of the season to go with his 31st assist on the R.J. Umberger goal in the first period giving him 49 points on the season.

The 3rd period is usually the period where Blue Jackets fans hold their breath even if the team is up 2-0 because anything and everything bad usually happens to this team. Not to mention, in reading Atlanta’s media notes, the third period has been their best period all season. So there was reason for concern with 20:00 minutes of hockey left.

Columbus still had enough energy to battle the Thrashers, but only could muster one shot on goal in the 3rd period.  Atlanta outshot the Jackets 17-1 in the 3rd period. Atlanta finally scored on a strange goal. Johnny Oduya put the puck past Goaltender Mathieu Garon at the 17:39 mark on a deflection off of Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin and it was 2-1 and the fans could be heard from the press box, “oh not again”.

The Blue Jackets committed a  high sticking  penalty (Jan Hejda). So Atlanta, after pulling their Goaltender and having a power play, put a 6-on-4 advantage against the Blue Jackets, the final 1:25 of the game but couldn’t come up with the equalizing goal. The Jackets held on to win 2-1.

“When its not going for you, its not going to go for you. It’s a difficult loss”, Atlanta coach John Anderson said.

SOUNDS FROM THE LOCKER ROOM AND POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE (to listen to an audio file, click the number)

44 498 Chris Chelios Atlanta Defenseman 48 year old first game back in NHL

44 499 Chris Chelios Atlanta is in a playoff race in the Eastern Conference

44 501 Nik Antropov Atlanta Center Losing key game in a playoff run

44 502 Nik Antropov Does it get discouraging losing by giving up 2 flukie goals

44 506 Derek Dorsett Columbus RW The team came out fast and quick in the 1st period

44 507 Derek Dorsett On Goalie Mathieu Garon playing solid tonight

44 511 Kristian Huselius Columbus Team had a nice pace and flow tonight

44 512 Kristian Huselius Does he and teammates like fast pace instead of a slow pace

44 513 Claude Noel Columbus Coach Overall thoughts on the game

44 516 Claude Noel On the versatility of Derek Dorsett filling in for Rick Nash on 1st line

GAME NOTES

* Columbus is now 27-30-11 with 65 points.

* The Blue Jackets are 16-10-7 at home this season.

* The Jackets are 7-5-0 vs Atlanta all-time; 4-2-0 in Columbus; have won 5 of last 6 and 4 straight games.

* With the win over Atlanta, the Blue Jackets are 13=0-2 in its past 15 games against the Southeast Division which also includes Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina. Their last loss to a Southeast Division team was November 21, 2007, a 5-2 loss at home to Florida.

* With Thursday night’s win, Columbus is:

18-12-5 when scoring the first goal of the game

11-7-5 when leading after the first period

21-6-4 when leading after the second period.

* LW R.J. Umberger scored his 20th goal of the season last night to give him 20 or more goals in three of his five NHL seasons. he has registered 20 goals, 25 assists for 45 points in 68 games this season leaving him five points shy of matching his career high of 50 points set in 2007-2008 with Philadelphia.

* Chris Chelios, who has starred for Montreal, Detroit and Chicago is glad to be back in the NHL