The Springfield Falcons finished the last week 1-2, dropping decisions to Connecticut and Binghamton and picking up a victory over Worcester that ended a twelve-game losing streak. The Falcons currently sit with a record of 31-38-2-3 and 67 points which puts them at sixth in the Atlantic Division and outside the AHL playoff picture.

Paul Dainton, Goaltender: Signed to ATO on 3/21. 69-61-12, 2.78, .908 in four seasons at UMass-Amherst.
Wade McLeod, Forward: Signed to ATO on 3/21. 61-76-137 in four seasons at Northeastern University.
Cam Atkinson, Forward: Signed to ELC with Columbus on 3/27. 68-56-124 in three seasons with Boston College. Hobey Baker Finalist (To be awarded on 4/8). Follow him on Twitter at @CamAtkinson13, or check out a few videos on the future Blue Jacket:

Weekly Game Recap:

Wednesday, March 23
at Connecticut 3

1 – SPR – MacLeod 1 (Savard, Holden), 18:02.
2 – SPR – Goloubef 5 (Kubalik, Smith), 8:59
2 – CT – Couture 2 (Garlock), 11:52.
3 – CT – Weise 16 (Newbury, Dupont), 0:54 (PP)
3 – CT – Mitchell 6 (Williams, Grachev), 11:17

SPR –  Dainton L (31/34)
CT –  Grumet-Morris W (25/27)

Saturday, March 26
Springfield 7
at Worcester 2

1 – SPR – Moore, (8) (Guite), 9:34 (SH)
1 – SPR – Filatov, (7) (Savard), 12:25 (PP) 
2 – SPR – Kubalik, (22) (Guite, Holden), 4:10
2 – SPR – Moore, (5) (Kubalik, Dainton), 10:02
3 – SPR – Bogosian, (1) (Savard), 1:27
3 – SPR – Sigalet, (4) (Kubalik, Guite), 2:57
3 – WOR – Trevelyan, (15) (DaSilva, Moore), 5:32 (PP)
3 – WOR – Wingels, (17) (McCarthy, Ferriero), 12:10 (PP)
3 – SPR – Tarnasky, (6) (Kubalik, Holden), 18:24 (PP)

SPR – Dainton W (39/41)
WOR - Hutton/Sateri L (23/30)

Sunday, March 27
Binghamton 4
at Springfield 1

1 – BNG – Gryba 3 (Daugavins, Keller), 9:18
2 – BNG – Bass 5 (Grant), 1:46
3 – SPR – Savard 8 (Holden, Frischmon), 0:37
3 – BNG – Wick 18 (Locke), 3:07
3 – BNG – Benoit 10 (Wick, Locke), 18:55 (EN)

BNG – Brodeur W (38/39)
SPR – Dainton L (26/29)

Rick Nash, in full streak-mode, knocked home his 32nd goal of the season just 2:14 in the first period with some help from Derick Brassard carrying the puck coast to coast. Brassard and Kris Russell both assisted, bringing them each to a career-best 28 assists for Brassard and career-high 23 points for Russell. Ryan O’Reilly evened it up just a few minutes later as bodies were flying in front of Steve Mason and a series of passes drew the defensemen away from the net.

For the first two periods, the Jackets didn’t amaze anybody, but they played a tight game. Midway through the second, with Marc Methot in the box, Derek Dorsett intercepted the puck at the blue line and dropped it across to Derek Mackenzie who was able to knock it past netminder Brian Elliot for their first shorthanded goal of the night.

In the third, RJ Umberger tore out of the defensive zone on another Avalanche power play and ripped an easy shot over the shoulder of Elliot to make it 3-1. According to the Blue Jackets PR department, that was only the second time in team history they scored two shorties in one game. The other came in February 2007.

But nothing ever comes easy. With their foot off the pedal, Matt Duchene popped a pinball past Mason at 7:44 (just forty-four seconds after Umberger’s shortie) and 14:36. Colorado was abuzz in the third with their gained momentum, and both Duchene goals could have been prevented had the defensemen and Mason both had any sense of each others’ whereabouts.

Hopefully you had your seatbelt fastened and your seat in the upright position. It got bumpier from there. Two minutes after Duchene’s 3-3 goal, Umberger clobbered Elliot and squirted the puck past him. Why wasn’t that goaltender interference? Who knows, but the Jackets had taken another lead! 4-3, under four to go.

Good to go, right?

Wrong. Daniel Winnik had something to say about that. With four seconds left in the game he tied it at four. There was no excuse for the Blue Jackets to give up that goal. Sure, it was six-on-four, but clearly they were already thinking about the bus ride to the airport. The net was half empty for Winnik’s shot. Both teams had some brilliant chances in overtime, but ultimately it would go to everybody’s least-favorite overtime of overtime.

Do we need to elaborate on what happened next, or can you guess? Columbus was 0/3. Milan Hejduk, the never-aging pest of a Jacket killer, scored. Colorado 5, Columbus 4.

The Jackets have lost six consecutive shootouts.

The broken record sings on.

Columbus is back at it on Thursday against Phoenix. Make sure to take your Dramamine and/or Pepto.

For a Colorado look at things, check out Katie’s recap at Hockey Without Oxygen.

Even Jake Voracek couldn't wake up Steve Mason. (Photo by @Vladekk35)

Remember back in the olden days of February or maybe even on Saturday, when the Jackets were able to complete passes and put the puck on the net? Those were the days, weren’t they?

Apparently the epic Supermoon event sapped them of their ability to operate as functional professional hockey players. Did they do anything right in this game? They didn’t get a shot on goal until late in the first period. Thirteen total? Did they forget this was Martin Brodeur and he’s, you know, kind of good?

And maybe it’s just the Dispatch wanting to stir up some unneeded controversy, but a quote by Steve Mason after Sunday’s loss has supposedly rung the wrong bells with the coaching staff:

“It’s a crappy feeling and an embarrassing effort tonight,” he said after the club was shut out for the second straight time on home ice. “It’s frustrating. We just couldn’t generate anything in their zone. For a team that is looking for a playoff spot right now, the effort we put forth isn’t acceptable.”

Is the truth so bad? The majority here seems to think Mason was right, and fair in making those comments. It doesn’t come across as Mason holding himself in any higher regard than his teammates – just simply stating that as a team, they were bad. And we all agree.

They leave today for Colorado, sans Grant Clitsome (knee) and with  Anton Stralman, according to the boys at the Dispatch. Colorado is on a slide – having won less than a handful of times over the last 60 days – but topped Edmonton in the shootout on Saturday. Don’t let them know that Colorado’s struggling. We all know how they act when they think they’re the better team. Make sure to check in with Katie at Hockey Without Oxygen for an Avs side of tomorrow’s bout.

Photo by Bridget Samuels

If you, at any point in this game, had any confidence in the outcome of the game, you’re lying. It started interestingly enough, as Rick Nash got off the schneid with his thirtieth goal of the season, assisted by Derek Dorsett and Sammy Pahlsson. Pahlsson chipped the puck to Dorsett along the boards, who flipped it over to Nash who was steaming into the zone full speed. Confidence level at this point: 6! But, of course, that wouldn’t last long as just under two minutes later Minnesota got a goal of their own off the stick of Brad Staubitz, his first of the year. Confidence level: shrinking.

In the second, everybody’s favorite name to laugh at, Cal Clutterbuck knocked the go-ahead goal past Mathieu Garon. Suddenly the Jackets were in full-on defenseless mode, battling with the Wild both competitively and physically. It got chippy — Grant Clitsome was injured on an uncalled knee-on-knee hit — and then Dorsett danced with Staubitz (embarrassingly) after a hit on Sami Lepisto. Dorsett got the worst of the fight and a misconduct and instigator to go along with it, but the team absolutely had a subsequent spike in energy. With under a minute left in the second, a whiff by Nash was redirected by Lepisto to the blue line to Kris Russell who fired it past Backstrom to tie it at two.

Going into the third, after a goal by Jan Hejda and another by the Captain to make it 4-2, things were looking good. But no, this is the Columbus Blue Jackets. Things can’t be that easy, right? A two-goal lead more than halfway into the third… no, no it can’t be that easy. Antti Miettinen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard had something to say about that. Garon gave them too much net to work with and the capitalized.

Off to overtime. Interestingly enough, the Event Summary sheet had the score as 5-4 Columbus at the end of regulation, with a phantom goal awarded to Antoine Vermette. Apparently, the NHL has ESP, as Antoine Vermette took a shot right into a flurry of  flustered Wild players in the crease and won the game for the Jackets with 0:34 to go in OT.

Some notes, courtesy of CBJ PR guy Ryan Holtmann:
– Their 17th road victory of the season surpasses the franchise record of 16 previously set in 2008-09.
– Sami Lepisto had three assists for the first time in his career, also setting the single-game assists record for CBJ defensemen.
– Jan Hejda now has a career high in goals with 5.
– Rick Nash & Jarome Iginla are the only two players to currently have four consecutive 30-goal seasons.

OK GO says it better than words ever could:

Let’s recap those lyrics, in case you’re unfamiliar:

Just when you think that you’re in control
Just when you think that you’ve got a hold
Just when you get on a roll
Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again
I should have known, should have known, should have known again
But here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again


Sound familiar?

Ample opportunities. Uncapitalized upon. Points left on the table.

Against Detroit. Really stings, doesn’t it? A nice, firm kick in the jewels.

There isn’t much to say about this game. They’re in a holding pattern in twelfth place, but it’s starting to feel like 1200th.

– The Blue Jackets lost this game the way they have lost most of their season: by blowing ample opportunities to put the game away. They were able to pull Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask away from his net and give themselves a handful of golden, empty-net opportunities but were only able to capitalize on two chances – one from Scottie Upshall in front of a completely empty net.
— Their powerplay was nothing to write home about. In fact – only Boston scored on the Jackets’ PP.
— Steve Mason made some key stops. He had a quick glove and looked rather confident coming off the big W in Raleigh.
— Fedor Tyutin was – and pardon our Russian – Fyucking Terrible. The last two games especially, Tyutin has been incredibly soft on the defensive side of things. In Carolina he took two penalties while illegally defending because he was too slow to keep up otherwise, and against Boston he was just flat out no good. Yet, Scott Arniel remains a fan and rewards TurnoverTyutin with 25 minutes of ice time on a regular night. Who knows why.
— Paging Rick Nash. Repeat, paging Rick Nash. Where, oh where, has Rick Nash’s scoring ability gone? Somewhere in the septic tank with the team’s playoff hopes. He hasn’t scored since February 22nd. He’s garnered assists – somehow – but his effort has been really poor. It isn’t news to anybody that Rick Nash’s “streakiness” has hints of “just not giving a sh*t” but as the team has dropped out of the running, so has Nash’s momentum. Nash apologists would disagree, but the $7.8M man has been a disappointment when he was needed the most.

As happens frequently for the Columbus Blue Jackets, they received pivotal, game-changing secondary scoring to carry them to victory. Derek MacKenzie had two goals and Samuel Pahlsson scored his sixth — shorthanded, no less — to give the Jackets a 3-2 victory. Pahlsson’s goal came just 4:44 into the first when Kris Russell (on the PK, no less) blocked a shot, tore out of the zone with the puck, and passed it to Derek Dorsett, who initially took the shot that Pahlsson rebounded in.
MacKenzie notched his seventh of the season just 42 seconds into the second. The 2-0 lead will hold until midway through the third when Jeff Skinner knocked a goal home to make it 2-1. The game picked up pace, then, and both teams were in a frenzy. Carolina pulled Cam Ward with two minutes remaining, and MacKenzie fired one into the open net. But the game wasn’t finished then. The Hurricanes kept pressing and less than 30 seconds later made it 3-2. The Jackets were finally able to hold it down from there for the victory.
Steve Mason was both very good, and very lucky in this game. He turned away 29 shots in the victory. He made some very nice stops – and was able to keep out some lucky, sloppy bad angle shots from the Hurricanes, who had nine power play opportunities in the game, including two 5-on-3 chances. The Hurricanes’ struggling power play met a cohesive Jackets penalty kill to go 0 for 9. Unfortunatly, the Jackets were not able to capitalize on any of theirs, either.
– Russell now has 9 points in his last 12 games. Has he finally arrived? He’s accomplishing what Arniel and company have asked him to do: moving the puck with efficiency, and right now he’s doing that and getting points, even while the team is struggling. And he’s doing it while drawing the least amount of ice time among defensemen.
– According to the Columbus Dispatch, Chris Clark was lost in the game and will be out up to a month with a lower body injury. Can’t say he’ll be missed. The 35 year old has been a frequent healthy scratch and has only 14 points on the season. Even when in the lineup, Clark doesn’t seem to bring much to the table. His contract — and 2.63M cap hit — are off the books after this year.
– The Jackets return to the ice on Tuesday night at home against Boston, 7pm.

The Jackets left over a week ago to embark on their longest road stretch of the year: Nashville, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and St. Louis. What seemed upon departure to be a winnable road trip, has left the team’s seething with only two points over those five games. Games against teams they have beaten who themselves are in the Western Conference playoff predicament – St. Louis and Nashville – were close, but only one point was salvaged out of either. Vancouver, the one team of the trip who seemed to be the biggest hurdle after scoring seven goals on them in December, was a 1-1 game that needed a shootout to be decided. And let’s not talk about those games in Alberta. Just absolutely wasted points.

It should have been realistic to come home with six or seven points. It would have been preferable to do so. It was possible. Instead of being just a few points back of eighth and right in the pack, they’ve suddenly dropped back seven points with seventeen games left. There’s little use, at this point, in trying to guess how many games they would need to win, how many points to get back into the picture.

The fact of the matter here is that they have played themselves out of the playoff race after playing back into it. After a long, ugly skid that should have derailed them permanently months ago, their current skid is a mere speed bump, but shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. They’ve been good, but they’ve also been very bad.

But one thing they have consistently been is resilient. They have had poor performances and rebounded the following game to play even with the league’s best team. They have had terribly bad meltdown periods, and rebounded to tie games with impossible seconds left on the clock. They have (especially lately) done a very good job of keeping themselves in games and giving themselves a chance to win it, even when they did not deserve to.

Wasting your time, at this point, doing the math to tell you what you already know (which is: they need a miracle) is nothing but a morale waster. Seventeen games left are left. Ten at home, in fact, so don’t excuse yourself from this season just yet. There is a lot that can be taken away from the 65 games already played, and those remaning.

There is a lot to be excited about, if you’re the optimistic type. How about Matt Calvert? He’s only going to get better with age, and he’s amazed us over and over again. The kid doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him, just a whole hell of a lot of grit and hustle. There’s Scottie Upshall to be excited about – he’s brought something so elevated and new to the team that you’ve got to believe they’re going to give him a talk in the offseason. There will be depatures, free agents, and a fresh crop of rookies with a year of AHL seasoning ready to jump into the the fold.

Faded playoff hopes don’t erase these good strides the team has made. They’ve evolved, even from minute to minute, game to game, over the course of this season. Playoffs or not, it has been incredibly enjoyable. And if you have been focused on the number “95” since October 1 and watching the standings on a minute by minute basis… well, you missed out on something good. This was a good team. This still is a good team. We’ll be holding your seat on the bandwagon next year.

AP Photo

On a night when the Jackets were ten minutes late to their own party, Matt Calvert stole the show. The game started as oh-so-many this year, down in an 0-2 hole just eight minutes into the game after a couple of unfortunate, ugly goals. But RJ Umberger’s 20th goal got them on the board and Jakub Voracek’s twelfth tied it up at two late in the first.

It would be a brand new game when the puck dropped for the second period. And that’s when Calvert took over. His first, a power play goal, came when Kris Russell circled the net with the puck and tossed it to him in the right circle. Calvert moved in and popped a shot over the shoulder of Ilya Bryzgalov. Six minutes later, Calvert batted the puck out of the air and past Bryzgalov to give the Jackets a 4-2 lead.

Onto the third period, he would waste no time getting that third goal. He batted his own rebound into the net to give the Jackets their fifth goal. It was a natural hat trick for the kid with perhaps the most natural, gritty talent. They barely flinched when Phoenix got another goal late. By then, Steve Mason had turned away 25 shots en route to his 22nd win of the season, already two more than he had last season.

Calvert notched his 7th, 8th, and 9th goals and now has 13 points in just 20 games in the NHL. Umberger’s goal and two assists bring him to 46 on the year, and Derek MacKenzie had another big game on a line with Umberger and Calvert, adding two assists to his total. With Huselius and Brassard out, the juxtaposed second line is a veteran in Umberger, a journeyman bubble-guy in MacKenzie, and a rookie who obviously loves what he’s doing in Calvert. It’s not an accident that they combined for four goals and five assists last night. They’ve got something going right: their ability to battle for pucks that is sometimes lacking up top.

Where we stand: 31-23-6 (68pts), 12th place, -2 8th place Chicago
What’s next: Sunday at Nashville, 3pm

Notes: At the noon today, the Jackets picked up former Sabres captain Craig Rivet, who will wear #52. Rivet, a defenseman, has 236 points in 909 career games … Calvert was named one of the NHL’s Three Stars for his effort last night. He was only the second rookie in franchise history to net a hat trick, the other being Nikita Filatov in 2009 … “Matt Calvert” was briefly trending worldwide on Twitter during the game.