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Another Hat Trick, Another Win: Blue Jackets 5, Flames 1

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Make it three for PLD

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s fascinating how the narrative of a game can change over the course of 60 minutes. Thursday’s 5-1 Columbus Blue Jackets win over the Calgary Flames began with “The Jackets are hot and can’t be stopped,” moved to “Hmmm, they’re scoring goals but losing the stats battle,” and ended with “Pierre-Luc Dubois scored a hat trick and should be considered for the Calder Trophy.”

Dubois tallied the first hat trick of his career (setting a new franchise record for goals by a rookie), John Tortorella earned his 128th win for Columbus (setting a new franchise record for wins by a coach) and the Blue Jackets picked up yet another victory, their 14th in their last 17 games. Sure, the shutout would’ve been nice, but really, what more could you have wanted?

First Period

The Blue Jackets started the night where they left off Tuesday in Edmonton, scoring just 2:09 into the game. Matt Calvert corralled an offensive zone faceoff win below the goal line and threw it to Markus Hannikainen in front, who snapped the chance in for his third goal of the season.

Fourth line goals will get you to Heaven, but you need your first line to put up points as well—which it did later in the first. All three forwards touched the puck as Artemi Panarin shoveled it to a wide-open Pierre-Luc Dubois, who slapped it past Jon Gillies to make it 2-0 visitors with 7:37 left in the opening period.

Thomas Vanek and Sonny Milano also found chances in the first, but nothing doing.

Second Period

The second period…well, that was a weird one. Columbus mustered only five shots in the frame, and two of those came on a power play to end the period.

The Jackets tallied only two shots for most of the second, but one of those found the net. It came from—you guessed it—Dubois, who struck for his second goal of the night almost four minutes after intermission. This time it was Cam Atkinson who redirected a Panarin pass in front to a streaking PLD for the rookie’s 17th of the season.

A fruitless CBJ power play passed shortly after Dubois’s goal and the kill appeared to give the Flames some jump. Calgary held the edge in shots 7-1 midway through, but Sergei Bobrovsky continued to stop every puck he saw.

Ian Cole took a dumb interference penalty (can you believe it?) at 13:31, giving Calgary its first power play of the contest. Seth Jones played a huge role in getting pucks away from danger and the man advantage passed without incident.

Third Period

Calgary controlled possession for much of the third as well, and yet it didn’t amount to a whole hill of beans. Bob locked down the Flames’ shots as the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd entertained themselves with The Wave, the game ticking away.

Markus Nutivaara, fresh off a four-year contract extension earlier in the day, extended the CBJ lead to 4-0 with just over nine minutes left in the game. Ryan Murray made a great block in front of Bob to spring a two-on-one the other way, and Vanek slid a pass across the slot to the man they call Nutsack for his seventh of the year.

Dubois put the icing on his cake with a beautiful snap shot off the rush with 4:37 to go, completing the hat trick and putting the game out of reach with a 5-0 lead.

Chris Stewart broke up Bob’s shutout bid with a meaningless goal at 19:38. Congratulations. We’re all very impressed.

Final Thoughts:

  • What a player Pierre-Luc Dubois has turned out to be. He’s got 18 goals, a new CBJ rookie record. The old one was held by somebody named Rick Nash. Name sorta rings a bell.
  • Brandon Dubinsky left the game in the second due to illness. There was some speculation that he exited the ice after a big hit, but after the game media people seemed to take the team’s explanation at face value.
  • Bob stopped 37 of 38 shots. What more can you say? He’s the greatest. I guess you could say that.
  • Per Aaron Portzline, Thursday’s game marked the fourth hat trick in the team’s last five road games.
  • Until Stewart’s turd in the punch bowl, the Jackets had scored 12 unanswered goals. As the late, great Jerry Reed once sang, “When you’re hot, you’re hot.”
  • Good for John Tortorella. Right now he’s the best coach in CBJ history, and he’s earned it.
  • Thomas Vanek has 14 points in 15 games since leaving Vancouver. Unreal.
  • Columbus is back at it again on Saturday in a 4 p.m. tilt at Vancouver. Pittsburgh and New Jersey went to overtime (great goal, Sid, let’s see you do that in regulation) and Florida also managed to take it into the extra period before losing. Great jobs all around, gang.