Coming into Saturday night’s game, the Columbus Blue Jackets knew they’d be in for a fight. No Seth Jones, a looming back-to-back and facing an Ottawa Senators team that’s won three in a row...and it didn’t matter. The Jackets dug out of an early one-goal hole and held the Sens scoreless for the final 47:44 to win their seventh game in a row.
Saturday gave Columbus several ways to solidify their standing in playoff position. Florida lost to Edmonton...but that was about it for positive news on the out-of-town scoreboard as both New Jersey and Philadelphia earned two points. All the Blue Jackets had to worry about was the one game in front of them against Ottawa, and they took care of business.
Ottawa struck first in a messy, see-saw first period. Sergei Bobrovsky gave up a huge rebound from an Erik Karlsson point shot, and eventually Alexandre Burrows jammed it past for a 1-0 goal at 12:16 in the opening period.
A little over four minutes later, Boone evened the score. An eventful zone exit found its way to Thomas Vanek, who chipped the puck long from the red line to Boone in front of Ottawa’s Mike Condon. Jenner won the footrace and immediately shot upon receipt of the puck to score, tying the game late in the first and even the score heading into the opening intermission.
The shot count helped tell the story of the first period, with Ottawa holding a 9-3 edge after 20 minutes.
Onto the second period. Nothing much of note until Bob make a routine save with 5:37 left in the second and was promptly run over by Max McCormick, giving Columbus its second power play of the game.
The Jackets drew blood on a beautiful blue line shot from Markus Nutivaara, blowing it by Condon to give PC a 2-1 lead with just under four minutes to go in the second. Nutivaara’s goal added to a prolific recent stretch by CBJ defensemen, and that’ll help keep him in the lineup.
The third period saw another strong frame from Columbus, outshooting the Sens 8-5. That’s an accurate shot count, and tells you much of what you need to know. No penalties, either.
Late in the third, David Savard blocked a shot seconds before Alexander Wennberg took a stick to the face trying to block another. If and when the Jackets make the playoffs, you can point to this image as to how they did it:
When you're laying it all out for a playoff spot: pic.twitter.com/SExcjWqTnN— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) March 18, 2018
Apologies to everyone for Wennberg’s busted face. It’ll heal, we hope.
That’s it. Nothing spectacular, just a hard-fought, grinding win. No fights, only a handful of penalties, 23 saves from Bob and two goals. That’s your game But when you’re trying to make the playoffs and looking for your seventh win in a row, you take ‘em how you get ‘em.
- David Savard didn’t show up on the scoresheet but played a huge game with a team-high three hits. He’s been more than noticeable during this seven-game stretch and has flexed hard to help Columbus win these seven games.
- Didn’t need all that offense tonight, huh? Markus Nutivaara was your first star. Good for him.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois led the Jackets with five shots and 19:34 of ice time. He’s ready for prime time. Up next? Thomas Vanek, with four. What a good deadline pickup.
- Back-to-back against Boston and New York on Monday and Tuesday. Gotta get at least two points, right?