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Recap: Clawing Back Up

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NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Columbus Blue Jackets
Despite a rough first period, there were Hugs for All by the end of the night
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It’s interesting to see how teams and coaches react this time of year.

The media looked at a lackluster first period effort and a game that was won as much because the Blue Jackets hung onto a one goal lead by their fingernails and the skills of Sergei Bobrovsky and than their offensive pressure, and asked if Torts was disappointed in their efforts despite the win.

By contrast, when Torts described the game, he was satisfied. He was pleased with their effort. He agreed the team had a slower start than they wanted in the first period, and that mistakes lead to Thomas Vanek connecting with Jonathan Marchessault for Florida’s goal at the end of the first period, but that wasn’t the whole story.

We learned that Jack Johnson had been playing through illness so severe that they were expecting to scratch him after the warmup skate.

Torts praised the work that Josh Anderson did to get in the right places tonight, which lead to both Zach Werenski’s tying goal and his redirection of a Johnson point shot for the game winner.

The head coach was actually more critical of himself than the team, admitting that he’d nearly started to shuffle the lines and pairings just before Werenski scored, and that if he had gone through with it, it likely would have been a mistake.

He made it clear that they’d expected Panthers to be desperate, and to throw everything they had at Bob, and they most certainly did. But the Jackets found a way, secured a lead, and played through to the finish, continuing this record setting season. They’re now in a position to potentially pass the Capitals for the division and league lead this weekend if a few things go right.

26 more points on the table. A very real possibility of breaking 100 points for the first time in franchise history. Playing “postseason” hockey and making a win happen in spite of adversity.

Quite a lot of things to be pleased with there.

No wonder Torts was smiling.