Playing in yet another weekend matinee game, the Jackets hosted the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon. Sergei Bobrovsky started for the home team, while the Flyers countered with Michael Neuvirth.
Scott Harrington returned to the lineup in place of Markus Nutivaara, and the lines were adjusted yet again, with Scott Hartnell joining Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno while the trio of Matt Calvert, Lukas Sedlak and William Karlsson was assembled.
A few minutes into the game, and with Boone Jenner in the box for high-sticking, the penalty-killing duo of Calvert and Karlsson activated the crowd with a pair of excellent shorthanded chances. These PK specialists are going to be vital in the playoffs.
After the first of many post-whistle scrums around the net, Brandon Dubinsky and Wayne Simmonds exchanged opinions and were each handed a roughing minor.
The Jackets were given a powerplay with 7:33 left in the opening period, but were unable to generate anything. The team is rapidly running out of time to get the powerplay going before the playoffs, but it may only take one regular season game for the PP to find its mojo.
Early in the second period Jakub Voracek was stoned cold by Bobrovsky when the former was left alone out front of the net. Jake is hands-down the lone player I wish the Jackets had never dealt away. Granted, the team likely wouldn’t have Jack Johnson, but I’ve always hated that deal for he-who-must-not-be-named.
Later, after a high stick to the face of Josh Anderson, noted idiot Radko Gudas mauled Jenner, goading him into a scrap. Thought the gloves were dropped it was more of a wrestling match, but the Jackets did end up with another powerplay. It was another tough effort though, with the Jackets failing to get a shot on net.
Sedlak had the Jackets’ first great offensive chance of the game, streaking up the left wing and wrapping around the net forcing Neuvirth to make a toe save. Sedlak is a player that looks better and better each game. Though he’s a rookie, I have a feeling the coaching staff won’t be afraid to use him in all situations in the postseason.
The Jackets opened the scoring with Alexander Wennberg deflecting a Kyle Quincey shot from the right boards. It was a terrific display of hand-eye coordination by the team’s top center.
1-0 Jackets: Alexander Wennberg (Kyle Quincey)
The Jackets killed off a cheesy interference call on Seth Jones, and with seven seconds left in the period they were back on the ‘kill. After yet another scrum, the resulting penalties saw David Savard with a double minor and Voracek with a single. The remaining time on the penalty was killed in the opening minutes of the third.
Like the previous two periods, the third was a dreadful bore, with nothing to report of note until there was just over a minute left, and the Flyers pulled Neuvirth. Matt Calvert came close to tieing the game for the Flyers, sliding the puck toward Bobrovsky, who was able to smother it and give a chuckle.
After a late flurry, Bob shut the door and sealed the deal on the shutout, his 40th win of the season, giving his teammates and fans a wonderful celebration.
The emotion showed by the Jackets at the end of the game was a real treat. The Jackets are back in action Tuesday at home against the Sabres.