Impressive Win over San Jose
Pascal Leclaire made goals by Federov (power play) and Fritche hold up for a hard-fought 2-1 home ice victory over the Sharks. In a close checking game, each team was stymied by defense and solid goaltending. Kudos to SJ goalie Nabokov as he singlehandedly kept them in the game. A particularly incredible save came against hard luck David Vyborny. Nabokov was on his back and stuck up his left pad in the nick of time, robbing Vyborny of what would have been his first goal of the season.
The game had a dearth of shots on goal: Columbus out shot San Jose 18-17. One source of improvement this season: the Jackets penalty killers have been great. Power plays: Jackets 1-6, Sharks 0-5. The team has also converted consistently when they have the man-advantage. Malhotra had two assists and was flying around the rink. I liked his attitude after the game, getting in Jeremy Roenick's face after time expired as Roenick had piled on Leclaire.
Standing up to a tough, skilled veteran team like San Jose is a very good sign: a sign that Coach Hitchcock has his thumb print on the team this season.