When the Blue Jackets got trounced 4-0 on Friday night, head coach John Tortorella looked rightfully disgusted. He demanded better from his team, and wanted to see them play up to their potential, not down to an opponent's perceived letter.
Tonight, he got it.
Against a Bruins team that desperately needed a win at home, Columbus came out and pushed the Bruins from the drop of the puck, Checks got finished, passes were made, pressure was put on Jonas Gustavsson, and of course Joonas Korpisalo was giving the team another solid performance in net.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was the strong "top to bottom" effort from the defensive corps, with Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, and Seth Jones all driving play, and if David Savard, Dalton Prout, and Fedor Tyutin didn't always look as dynamic, they at least didn't actively drag their partners down, as we've seen happen at times this season.
Even better, the strong play lead to the Jackets drawing several power play opportunities, and the special teams delivered, with Boone Jenner and Scott Hartnell both cashing in on redirections, Jenner converting a great shot by Cam Atkinson, while Hartnell tipped a Seth Jones blast into the net.
(If there's one injustice from this game, it's the fact that Seth Jones STILL doesn't have his first goal in a Columbus uniform - but I'm pretty sure he put a divot into the top right corner post on the Bruins' net after a couple of his shots caught iron.)
Were there weaknesses? Of course. The fact that Boston was able to score several goals either in quick response to goals or off faceoffs shows that there's still plenty of things to be improved, but the Jackets did a hell of a job rolling with the punches tonight (even responding to a waved off goal by going out and scoring another one!), and even though Boston pushed them, there was never a sense that the Jackets were letting the game slip away once they took the 4-2 lead thanks to Hartnell's power play marker.
It was good to see the team bounce back and assert themselves, but the real challenge comes Tuesday - when they roll into Detroit for the second night of their back to back trip, and have to do it all again.
Final Score: Blue Jackets 6 - Bruins 4.