The Jackets needed a victory, and as it turned out, the Devils were the tonic required to get back on the right side of things. It was a battle of number one goalies, with Sergei Bobrovsky opposite Cory Schneider.
The first half of the opening period was uneventful, despite the Jackets out-chancing the Devils by a large margin. If the game plan was to come out swinging, the boys did just that.
Immediately following the mid-period TV timeout, the Jackets opened the scoring. Brandon Dubinsky, in his return from a stint on the injured list, fed the puck from the goal line to Cody Goloubef at the right point. Goloubef then slid the puck cross-ice to newcomer Justin Falk, who fired a wrister through traffic to beat Schneider.
1-0 Jackets: Justin Falk - Cody Goloubef, Brandon Dubinsky
The off-ice officials were really confounded by this one. The official scoring on the goal was changed no less than four times, with Cam Atkinson initially getting credit for the goal, despite the fact he was on the bench. Then Artem Anisimov was given credit..and it went on and on. Eventually they got it right, and Falk scored his first goal of the season.
Observation - midway through the first, Anisimov took a faceoff. This is a good sign as he works toward being a full contributor, post-injury.
Near the end of the period, I noted that Marko Dano again looked so strong on his skates, and was winning a lot of the physical battles. He was a bit sloppy in tripping Jordin Tootoo, but the penalty was killed and all was forgiven.
Right at the buzzer, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell came *this* close to increasing their lead by two goals. I always like to see these two playing together, but they do such a good job of lifting their linemates' games that it's understandable that they play on different lines.
Early in the second period, David Savard was called for hooking, but on the ensuing faceoff, Fedor Tyutin was clipped with a high stick, putting the teams four-on-four.
With 57 seconds left in the four-on-four, Patrik Elias committed a brutal behind-the-back turnover at the Columbus blueline. The puck was intercepted by Foligno, who cruised up-ice with Dubinsky to his right. Foligno fed Dubinsky, who skated in on Schneider, beating him on the forehand.
2-0 Jackets: Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno
The Devils came very close to cutting the lead in half a few minutes later when Steve Bernier was given the puck to the right of an out-of-position Bobrovsky, but Bernier somehow failed to convert.
Shortly after that though, the Devils would break through. Foligno was called for the shittiest penalty in hockey (a rule that needs to go ASAP, or at least changed to only being enforced in the final minute or two of a period): he sent the puck over the glass. While up a man, the Devils peppered Bobrovsky, and Tootoo finally beat him after one-timing a between the legs pass from Adam Henrique.
2-1 Jackets: Jordin Tootoo - Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefsen
I've always pulled for Tootoo, even when he was a Predator. His story is incredible and he's an amazing ambassador for the Inuk people. I hope he can settle with the Devils.
With 10:49 left, Dano regained the two-goal lead. Alexander Wennberg was on the half-wall, and slid the puck to open ice near the right dot, where Dano grabbed it, snapping a shot past Schneider. The puck hit iron first, leading to some confusion and a review, but Dano knew he scored, and the goal counted.
3-1 Jackets: Marko Dano - Alexander Wennberg, Justin Falk
The goal was Dano's fourth of the season, while Falk added to his first goal of the season with his first helper of the year.
After killing another New Jersey penalty, the Wennberg-Dano duo came close to potting another goal. I love watching these two play together. They offer a glimpse into the future, and though both players offers differing playing styles, they are an absolute treat to watch.
In the latter half of the period, Steve Bernier hit Scott Hartnell with a flying elbow, a stupid, dangerous play that luckily didn't lead to an injury to Hartnell. After the hit, David Savard challenged Bernier to a fight, sticking up for his teammate. The fight was less about the punches and more about Savvy sticking up for Hartsy. Great to see from Savard, who's emergence led to the trade of James Wisniewski.
Early in the final frame, Eric Gelinas hooked Anisimov, leading to an extended delayed penalty. Shortly after that penalty expired, Savard went to the box for interference. The best chance for either side was a shorty chance by Dubinsky.
At the 6:36 make, the Devils cut the lead to one. Peter Harrold made a beauty inside-out move to get around Falk, beating Bob top corner.
3-2 Jackets: Peter Harrold - Andy Greene, Tuomo Ruutu
Near the midway point of the third, the Devils thought they had tied the game, beating Bobrovsky, but ringing it off the iron.
The Devils pushed hard for the equalizer in the latter half of the third, but Bob came up huge. The Devils pulled Schneider with a minute left, but the closest the Devils would come was one second after the final horn sounded, when Mike Cammalleri fired the puck into the Columbus net.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Jackets
- David Savard had a hell of a game on D, along with Jack Johnson. STEADY
- Bob was Bob, 'nuff said.
- RETURN OF THE HUG
- The Jackets' fourth line was again exposed as less than effective. Without getting into detail, Mark Letestu needs new linemates.
- Bernier's flying elbow was just stupid.
- I'm not one, but for you tankers it has to suck that the Jackets' victory helped them pass the Leafs in the standings.