After looking flat and uninspired Friday night at home against the Panthers, the Jackets were back at it last night in Philadelphia, looking for a more complete effort.
Not only did the Jackets put forth a more complete effort last night, they looked more dominant than we've seen all season. From start to finish the Jackets were the dominant team, forcing the Philly fans to turn on their home squad with hearty boos. Granted, it doesn't take much to get Philly fans out of sorts.
Fedor Tyutin returned to the lineup after dealing with a broken nose +++, and Dalton Prout replaced Kevin Connauton on the back end. The other notable lineup move was the placement of Brandon Saad on the fourth line, in what was the latest accountability message from coach John Tortorella.
The Jackets were shot out of a cannon (pardon) to start the game, with all four lines clicking and making things happen. It took until the 8:55 mark of the opening period for the Jackets to be rewarded for their efforts. Alexander Wennberg came up with a huge faceoff win over Claude Giroux, who is easily one of the top faceoff men in the NHL. The puck worked its way over to the left boards, where Tyutin did well to keep the puck in the zone. Scott Hartnell, fresh off a healthy scratch Friday, gathered the puck from Tyutiin, sliding it to Alexander Wennberg, who went dot-to-dot to Nick Foligno, who made no mistake in one-timing the puck past Steve Mason.
The Jackets continued to attack in waves, and went up by two goals a few minutes after Foligno opened the scoring. After a dump-in, former Jacket Nick Schultz tried to rim the puck around the boards behind Mason, but Jack Johnson was first to the puck, firing the puck toward the net. On its way to Mason, Flyer Scott Laughton got his stick up, and the puck redirected off it.
Early in the second period, Sergei Bobrovsky made the first of many huge saves for the Jackets, stopping Michael Raffl on a clear breakaway. Bob was simply excellent Saturday night.
The Flyers' only goal of the night was scored at 4:19 of the second. After a sustained shift by the line of Hartnell, Wennberg and Foligno, Philly rookie blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere took the puck and rushed up-ice. Gostisbehere, aka Ghost, dropped the puck to Brayden Schenn, who quickly wired the puck to Raffl, who was able to beat Bob with a redirect in front of the net.
Now, about this Gostisbehere. Man, what a player!
Unfazed, the Jackets would regain their two goal lead a few minutes later. After Bobrovsky cleared the puck off the glass, Hartnell gained control and fed a cross-ice pass to Foligno, who used Michael Del Zotto as a screen as he wired the puck past Mason.
The Jackets powerplay coming into last night's game had been atrocious. With two consecutive powerplays late in the second period, the Jackets had a wonderful chance to increase their lead. The first powerplay was underwhelming, but the second one bore fruit.
Foligno entered the zone, dropping a pass to Hartnell. Hartnell whipped the puck over to Wennberg, who then sent a perfect pass back to Hartnell for the redirect past Mason. The goal was reviewed, but was deemed to be a "good hockey goal". as they say.
The Flyers came close to halving the lead, but Bob firmly slammed the door shut, including on a puck that had beaten him and was sitting in the blue paint.
The Flyers attempted to mount their comeback in the third period, forcing Bob to make an incredible kick save. He wouldn' be tested much more this game, a game that quickly devolved into one of those scrum-after-every-whistle affairs.
There was a fight though, between Chaput and Brayden Schenn. Chaput got off a few punches, but ended up settling the fight with a takedown move.
FINAL SCORE: 4-1 Jackets
1 - for the advanced stats for this game, be sure to check out War on Ice.
2 - the Hartnell- Wennberg - Foligno line was excellent last night, combining for eight points.