Coming into tonight, Columbus led the league with just 5 regulation losses. Those losses came to just 3 teams: Boston twice, San Jose twice,...and Calgary. That loss to Calgary came the day before Thanksgiving and was the only time this season the Blue Jackets have been shut out. After enjoying two days off (and a trip to the Canadian Sports Institute for some Olympic-style training), the Jackets were eager for revenge.
Boy did they get it.
The game opened with Calgary rookie Matthew Tkachuk checking Brandon Saad, which the Jackets took exception to in the form of Alexander Wenn- wait, that’s not right. Sorry, let me check my notes again...
Holy shit, it WAS Alexander Wennberg. In a fight! What the hell? First fight of the relatively well-mannered Swede’s career.
At the 3:46 mark of the period. David Savard did well to skate inside and fire away at the net. Boone Jenner was well positioned among the traffic in front and tipped in the rebound for the opening goal.
The next goal was truly a thing of beauty. In the neutral zone, Zach Werenski stretched out his stick and managed to knock puck loose. Wennberg put forth a great effort to corral the puck and skate it into the offensive zone. He flipped a no-look pass into the middle of the zone, where a streaking Saad caught it in stride and sniped it over the right arm of Chad “Not Ochocinco” Johnson.
Late in the first, David Savard was sent to the box for tripping. The PK unit won the faceoff and a streaking Matt Calvert had one of his patented short-handed breakaways, but this one didn’t connect for a goal. On the way back, Calvert’s active stick forced another turnover, but Johnny Gaudreau sold it and Calvert joined Savard in the box. In the ensuing 5 on 3, Calgary got their goal courtesy of Sean Monahan. Not much Bob could do with all that traffic.
The second period started with 1:46 in a Columbus power play. That lethal, league-leading first PP unit struck again with :33 remaining, with Werenski firing a wrist shot from the just inside the blue line. Later in the game, the official scorekeeper changed the credit from Werenski to Sam Gagner, who appeared to have tipped the puck. That’s a team-leading 13th goal for Gagner, and the 14th assist (2nd of the night) for the rookie d-man.
The final goal of the game came on a shorthanded breakaway goal from...who else? Matty Calvert. Calvert forced a turnover himself and was off to the races. Wild Bill Karlsson was following close behind to hammer in the rebound had Calvert missed. Calvert did not miss.
The rest of the game was relatively uneventful, as Columbus sat on the lead and Calgary just could not get anything working against the tenacious Columbus defense. Sergei Bobrovsky stood tall at times and finished the night with 22 saves.
Columbus - which is a good team now, if you haven’t heard - has now won 8 straight. 9-0-1 in the last 10. A perfect 7-0 in the month of December. Currently the Jackets sit in 3rd place in the Metro and t-4th in the NHL, 2 points behind league and division-leading Pittsburgh with 3 games in hand. Oh yeah, they play those Penguins on Thursday.