Even a tough 2-1 loss at home to the Devils on Friday cannot color this week in a poor way. The team is playing solidly in all phases of the game. The cynic in me worries that the fade that began last year around this time will happen again, but we'll see what Hitchcock has up his sleeve. Riding a hot goalie can be fun, as we saw last year with a healthy Pascal in net. Young Mason has been fun to watch for Columbus fans hungry for a playoff appearance.
Another good crowd saw the controversial loss to New Jersey, almost 18000 fans were at Nationwide. I won't rehash the Madden goal, but for those who missed it: Mason had the puck covered for a few seconds, the puck eased out and after the net was dislodged the puck was pushed in by the scrappy Devil (I can't hate Madden; he plays hockey the right way: scrappy, intelligent and hard).
Earlier in the week the Jackets had a very impressive victory against Colorado, winning 4-3 via three third period goals. Huselius has shaken off his concussion by now and led the Nash-less team with three points. Do not dismiss this mini-run and solid play by Michael Peca as coincidental. The veteran has been terrific this season. Jared Boll and Manny Malhotra have recently earned more ice time and been solid as well. Torres is back and once he rounds into shape it should be a welcome jolt of energy. I cannot wait until Chimera comes back. Exciting times in Columbus for once.