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Blue Jackets 5 Sharks 2 -- Quick Thoughts

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The Blue Jackets dipped their toes in the Sharks' home waters and found them just fine, thanks.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It was a game for the Ohio night owls to take in, checking election results in between periods.  Here are our tallies of the action in San Jose.

FIRST PERIOD

  • John Tortorella trotted out some new lines, with Dubinsky centering Jenner & Saad, Johansen between Calvert & Atkinson, Karlsson centering Foligno and Hartnell, and Campbell between Boll & Clarkson.  (Wennberg out with lower body injury).  Tyutin returned while Prout sat.
  • The Blue Jackets came out like banshees, skating fast and hard, but controlled, unlike the first period of the home opener vs. the Rangers.
  • At 18:40, Boone Jenner inexplicably misses a wide open net from in front, after a terrific feed from Ryan Murray.
  • That chance was followed in rapid sequence by a slashing penalty against Chris Tierney, Sergei Bobrovsky stuffing a short-handed breakaway, and a good power play from the possession standpoint.
  • At 15:37, the Blue Jackets forced another penalty, this time a holding call against Brenden Dillon.  Jack Johnson started it off with a dangerous point shot, and Brandon Saad finished it with a gritty goal from down front.  (Dubinsky & Connauton with the assists)  1 - 0 Blue Jackets
  • The Blue Jackets continued to stifle the Sharks and showed some amazing possessions in the offensive end.  Martin Jones was very good to keep the game close.
  • At 7:53, Mike Brown dropped the gloves with Gregory Campbell to put some life in the Sharks. Their game picked up some from that point on.
  • At 3:31 Bobrovsky makes two consecutive big saves on point blank chances from Marc -Edouard Vlasic, then the Blue Jackets countered with chances of their own.
  • The Sharks put more pressure on as the period wound down.  With 1:04 left, Joe Thornton sent the puck up top to Justin Braun, who fired a point shot.  Joe Pavelski was between Bob and the puck, both screening him and deflecting the puck in.  No chance for Bobrovsky on that one.
  • Despite only a tie, the best complete period of hockey this season for the Blue Jackets -- by far.
  • Columbus led in shots, 13 - 10, had a 10 - 9 edge in the face-off circle, and were 1/2 on the power play.  A good foundation for the next 40 minutes.

SECOND PERIOD

  • Just 45 seconds in, Brandon Saad went in on a partial breakaway, but could not control the puck, which went into the right pad of Jones. (Slashing from Burns not called)  That was immediately followed by a great shift from the Foligno, Karlsson, Hartnell line.
  • At 17:18, the Blue Jackets had a great flurry in front of the net, thanks to some hard work by Jack Johnson.  Saad, Johansen and Atkinson all there, but whistle blew when puck was still alive.
  • At 16:56, the Sharks had a dangerous rush, with Joe Thornton missing just wide.  Tyutin was called for hooking on Thornton, and probably saved a goal.  Great penalty kill, featuring good work by Goloubef, Dubinsky and Karlsson, who had a short handed rush and just missed with the backhand.
  • At 13:49, Columbus took a too many men on the ice penalty.  Another great kill.
  • At the 11:06 mark, Johansen, Foligno & Hartnell on the ice, doing a great job of cycling and maintaining possession.  Hartnell took the puck from behind the goal to Jones' right, wheeled back to his right, and made roof from a tough angle. Johansen with the lone helper.  2 - 1 Columbus.
  • The Sharks apparently took exception to the goal, and put together a string of long possessions, pinning the Jackets' fourth line in their own zone.  Some blocked shots and key saves by Bob kept the lead intact.
  • At 8:04, Nick Foligno had his pocket picked by Tommy Wingels high on the right wing on his own zone.  Wingels  found Donskoi who found Joe Pavelski all alone in front of Bobrovsky, and he converted with a filthy roofed backhand.   Joonas Donskoi with the lone assist.  Tie game, 2 - 2.
  • At this point, San Jose was taking over the play, but Columbus did not fold.  They created some fast break opportunities, and some end to end action ensued.  Bobrovsky made consecutive ridiculous saves off a deflected point shot and the ensuing rebound.
  • At 5:23, the Blue Jackets surrendered their third power play of the period, when Jack Johnson was called for high sticking.  Another solid kill, with another short handed mini-rush from Karlsson and Dubinsky.
  • At 2:45, Johansen and Jenner had a nice rush, with Jenner almost converting a nifty backhand from Jenner.  The ice tilting back toward Columbus.
  • At the 1:28 mark, a vicious forecheck by Atkinson and Hartnell forces Burns to misplay the puck from Jones.  The puck comes back out to Boone Jenner, just as Jones is returning to his crease.  Too late, goal Jenner. 3 - 2 Blue Jackets, with Hartnell gaining the assist.
  • Not satisfied, the Blue Jackets score again just 29.1 seconds later.  This time Johansen gets a backhand pass from down low to Ryan Murray at the point.  Murray nails it upper corner, with Johansen and Saad getting the assists. 4 -2 Blue Jackets.
  • The Blue Jackets almost let things get away, but they survived three PK situations and kept the pressure on.  They managed only eight shots for the period, surrendering 15 to the Sharks, but made theirs count.  An impressive period, just in a different way than the first.

THIRD PERIOD

  • Alex Stalock took over for Jones in net for San Jose, and almost immediately was the star in a comic opera.  In a hard rush, Dubinsky tried to center the puck to Jenner, who was all alone.  Stalock stick-checked the puck away, but lost his stick in the process.  The puck came out toward the blue line, but was saved by Johnson, who nudge it to Jenner on the left.  Stalock, stickless, came out to defend, and was fortunate that the puck found his breadbasket.  (A few minutes later, Stalock again lost his stick, and purloined Nick Foligno's for a moment)
  • San Jose had its first sustained pressure of the period at the 16:30 mark, but the Blue Jackets were able to keep them to the perimeter and avoid any real danger.
  • The Blue Jackets are not creating lengthy offensive presence, but they are careful with the puck in the dangerous areas, and are focusing on getting the puck deep.  A nice offensive surge by Dubinsky, Jenner & Johnson comes up empty, but eats up time.  Clarkson goes to the locker room with an apparent lower body injury.
  • At the 12:27 mark, Dubinsky was called for cross-checking.  This really becomes the turning point of the final period. The Sharks maintain possession for the first 1:05 of the power play, through two faceoffs.  After that, the Jackets took control and killed the penalty with ease.
  • As San Jose racked up some more zone time, they were frustrated both by a collapsing defense and Bobrovsky, who was much calmer in net.  There was little panic, and the exit passes were short, quick and decisive.
  • At 4:46, Vlasic clanked a point shot off the far post -- that was as close to a goal as they would get.
  • San Jose pulled Stalock for the extra attacker with 2:48 left.  Again, the defense and Bobrovsky were solid, and with 1:39 remaining, Matt Calvert fired a blind backhand from the red line into the empty net, for the 5 -2 score that would be the final margin.  Gregory Campbell and Ryan Murray had the assists. Game Columbus.
  • Some ugly numbers (losing shots 18 - 3 in final period, losing face-offs 46-22 for the game) really don't tell the picture of the quality of the effort.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • By far the best effort of the season at every level.
  • Everyone contributed, with Johnson, Murray, Hartnell, Jenner, Bobrovsky, Saad, Goloubef, Karlsson, Dubinsky and Johansen of particular note.
  • The club responded well when faced with adversity (two tying goals, multiple penalties), and kept the structure, pace and discipline.
  • Bobrovsky started nervously, but took command. A terrific showing.
  • The guys skated fast, hard and all the way to every puck all night long.  San Jose was intimidated at times, and that just bred that elusive confidence.
More thoughts in the full recap later this morning. But a really solid start to a difficult road trip.  Full marks for this effort. Stay tuned.