One night after losing a tough one to the New York Rangers, the Jackets traveled to Boston looking to end the Bruins' five-game winning streak. The goaltending matchup featured Curtis McElhinney opposite Tuukka Rask.
The Jackets opened the game with a new line of Scott Hartnell and Josh Anderson flanking Brandon Dubinsky. The trio would go on to have a terrific night, winning battles and giving the Boston defenders fits in their end. It was clear that Anderson was fueled by adrenaline last night in his first NHL game, but tonight he brought the same physical play, speed and nose for the net. This kid is a player, folks.
The Bruins had the first solid chance in the game, with a flurry of action in front of McElhinney after a Nick Foligno misplay behind the net. McElhinney stood tall, as he would continue to do all night.
When the teams last met at the end of December, the Bruins were flat and unimpressive. Fast forward to tonight, and they have their swagger back. They dictated play for long stretches of this game, and buoyed by their home crowd, they were at times dominating the Jackets. The one thing Boston had to avoid was allowing the Jackets to go on the powerplay.
At 7:27 of the first, they did just that, when Dougie Hamilton was sent to the sin bin for hooking Foligno. The Jackets lethal powerplay made no mistake, with Ryan Johansen unleashing a wicked wrister from the edge of the left faceoff circle, beating Rask. This extended Johansen's point streak to 13 games.
1-0 Jackets: Ryan Johansen - Jack Johnson, Scott Hartnell
One of the rules my buddies and I use in our hockey pool is that we must maintain a rookie at all times. There's a tantalizing player sitting out there as a free agent right now, and his name is David Pastrnak of the Bruins. He's been very good on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and was dangerous against the Jackets. He had an excellent chance to tie the game midway through the period, but McElhinney slammed the door shut.
The Bruins would eventually tie it up a few minutes later. After a defensive zone faceoff loss, the Jackets couldn't clear the zone or gain possession. The puck made its way to Chris Kelly along the boards, who threw it toward the net. After glancing off the stick of Loui Eriksson, Fedor Tyutin whiffed at the puck, before it landed on the stick of Carl Soderberg, who deposited it behind McElhinney.
1-1: Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly
The teams traded penalties late in the period, but neither team could convert.
The second period was up and down for the Jackets, with long stretches of on-their-heels play. Going back to Anderson- midway through the period he laid down the body to block a shot. What a gamer.
Each team took a minor penalty in the middle period, Foligno for hooking, and Kelly for roughing, after he punched Alexander Wennberg in the back of his head. The Jackets came very close to taking the lead on the ensuing powerplay, but Rask made two huge stops to keep the game tied.
Wennberg took a beating tonight, including a huge crunch by Lucic at one point. Despite that, he looked so confident out there, centering the Atkinverts and seeing time on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Don't look at the lack of points, he's a player. With continued trust from the coaches, the points will come.
I had to watch the goddamned NESN broadcast tonight, complete with their terrible broadcasting duo of Jack Edwards and that other twit. One of the things Edwards kept talking about was "karma". Keep that in mind.
Carl Soderberg is not a dirty player, but late in the second period he hit Matt Calvert with an obvious headshot. Luckily Calvert just needed some time to clear the cobwebs before returning to action, but the NESN guys played it off like "Calvert's a slight kid and Soderberg is taller" so it'll happen. Bullshit.
The Jackets' best opportunity to take the lead came just before the second intermission. After Jack Johnson skated behind the net and fired a shot on Rask, the rebound plinko'd around, and Rask was sucked out of his net. Jared Boll found the puck on his stick, and with a wide open net- he missed.
The Bruins had their own terrific chance to take the lead in the third period, when Kelly led a two-on-one. Luckily for the Jackets however, he lost an edge, slowing down the play. He still managed to get the puck cross-ice to a teammate, who got the shot off but McElhinney was again there to make the stop.
McElhinney was terrific again midway through the period, making a huge glove save off a Kelly shot. Give him props- CMac was great tonight.
Remember the "karma" thing? With 3:03 left in regulation, Brandon Dubinsky carried the puck in the zone, late in a shift. He passed the puck to Atkinson, who made just enough of a juke to put his defender out of sync, before firing the puck on net. The puck snuck through Rask, and was heading wide until none other than Matt Calvert was there to tap it in. Downplay a clear headshot, and the guy who received it goes on to score a huge goal later in the game? Karma's a bitch, eh Jack?
2-1 Jackets: Matt Calvert - Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky
Jeremy Morin followed that goal up with a clear-cut breakaway, but Rask made a terrific save to hold the Jackets to the one-goal lead.
Rask was pulled with 1:13 left, and the Jackets would ice it with an empty-netter off the stick of...Calvert.
3-1 Jackets: Matt Calvert - Ryan Johansen, James Wisniewski
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Jackets
- Matt Calvert, need I say more?
- Curtis McElhinney was very good tonight, making some very key saves.
- The line of Hartnell-Dubinsky-Anderson needs to stay together. What a force.
- Johansen's point streak of 13 games is ridiculous.
- Boller- I know you're going to be hard on yourself for missing that open net. It's getting harder to defend you, bud.
- The Jackets were not great in the faceoff circle. This needs to improve.