In Sunday’s Quick Takes, Matt described the opening as a “snoozer of a start.” In tonight’s game against the same Devils, the snoozing lasted far longer than the start.
The Devils threw 16 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky in the first period, just four shy of their full-game total from Sunday. Bob stopped them all, though, rescuing the Blue Jackets from a listless opening stanza. The home side looked slow, chasing the Devils forwards around the zone and shoving sticks at skates as Bob absorbed shot after shot.
New Jersey’s most dangerous chance of the first came when a puck caromed off the boards to a charging Adam Henrique, only to see Bob cut down the angle and keep the game scoreless.
We’ll just fast forward to the second, where Bob made another spectacular save, stopping this one with his crotch. He’d make another save with his face, but only needed nine to move into the third with a clean sheet.
Credit where credit’s due: Keith Kinkaid had himself a hell of a game too, stopping Cam Atkinson on a 2-on-1 and stuffing Zach Werenski in front for two memorable saves.
Columbus went 0-for-2 on power plays while the Devils squandered their only one. Jackets made some hay on the first, but nothing doing.
The third started in similar fashion to the first two periods, but the crowd showed signs of life midway through (the “C-B-J” chant will likely outlive us all) and finally the dam broke.
With 10 and a half minutes to go, a strong forecheck enabled Bjorkstrand to throw a puck at the goal that drifted to the boards for Hartnell, who poked it to Sam Gagner below the goal line. With three Devils caught down low, Gagner found Bjorkstrand the high slot for a fallaway beauty past a stickless Kinkaid and a 1-0 score.
Bjorkstrand’s goal (his fourth in four games against New Jersey, by the way) woke everyone up. Full-bore, back-and-forth hockey started to creep back in on both sides as the Devils looked to score and the Jackets took advantage of the open ice. Bob continued to stop shots and the game stayed at 1-0 before Atkinson potted his 30th of the season on an empty netter with 1:16 to go.
- Three straight shutouts for Sergei Bobrovsky. Six on the year. What more can you say, honestly? Playing out of his mind right now.
- Cam Aktinson has 30 goals, becoming the seventh Blue Jacket to ever reach that plateau. Hard to think of a more deserving player over the past five years or so.
- T.J. Tynan’s first game as a Jacket, and he did not look too out of place in his small 6:06 of ice time. The Notre Dame rookie played like his hair was on fire (cha-ching!), creating a chance or two in the first and impressing several Twitter wags with his speed. Probably not as much action as he’d like, but you gotta start somewhere…and a win’s a win.
- Dalton Prout took a penalty and finished even, with one shot, two minutes and 13:14 of ice time . Good to see you back, Prouter.
- Faceoffs were relatively even, with the Devils holding a slight 51-49 percent edge.
- Devils probably deserved better, especially after that first period. But good teams find ways to win, and that seems to be the Jackets’ M.O. as of late. Would be nice to see the power play pick it up.
- Back at it again on Friday night to kick off a back-to-back home-and-home with Buffalo. Puck drop at Nationwide at 7 p.m.