Recap Game #6: Getting the Taste out of Your Mouth
It took a couple of weeks, but the Blue Jackets turned in their best performance of 2018. And in the third jerseys, too!
After the dud that was the six-goal defeat in Tampa on Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets used their long break between games to work on some things, namely the penalty kill and power play (at least, that’s what we were told) and were able to do enough to get the win on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-3, at Nationwide Arena.
You can tell the Jackets were anxious to get back to action after the long break between games, as they were trying to play a step and a half ahead of the game.
Columbus looked better, but not great, in the early going, and definitely looked better on an early penalty kill opportunity (again, not great, but better) thanks in part to a sharp Sergei Bobrovsky, who looked much more comfortable between the pipes.
Having said that, it was the Flyers who drew first blood just past the halfway point of the period when Travis Konecny tipped home a shot from Robert Hagg just outside of the faceoff circle to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
Unlike in previous Bob starts in his previous starts, the early goal didn’t rattle him or the Blue Jackets, who continued to get their sea legs under them.
With two minutes left in the opening period, the Jackets drew even thanks to Anthony Duclair scoring what might just end up being the goal of the season, falling between two Flyer defenders, doing a complete 360 and still putting the puck home. Seriously, just watch the goal.
That should have been it for the goal scoring in the period, but the Flyers got a goal in the final minute off a lazer off the stick of Sean Couturier to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
But, again, the Jackets were not to be deterred.
Columbus opened the scoring in the second period just a minute and a half in, when Cam Atkinson tied the game by tipping home a beautiful feed from Artemi Panarin on an odd-man rush.
Atkinson gave Columbus a lead (one they wouldn’t relinquish) a few minutes later by showing off his speed and his perfect puck placement to make it a 3-2 game.
Nick Foligno capped the scoring in the period, writing the biscuit home from the slot to make it 4-2.
The second period was much better than ones we’ve seen previously this year, but there wasn’t anything special about it. The Jackets didn’t necessarily dominate possession, but were able to keep pace with a back and fourth game and were able to take advantage of every opportunity that hey had.
The third period didn’t start great for the Jackets, as Oskar Lindblom took advantage of a loose puck behind the cage and Bobrovsky looking the other way to make it 4-3.
And again, the Blue Jackets responded and didn’t let another mistake happen again, getting two goals in the period from Josh Anderson on a wicked backhand and Sonny Milano (!!!) on a top-shelf wrap around for the exclamation point of the 6-3 win.
Overall, there was a lot to like on the evening.
For really the first time this year, the Jackets responded every time they were punched in the gut and once they got the game underneath them (which took about 12 or so minutes), they looked like the better team.
Speaking of looking better, Bobrovsky. Especially coming off of the Tampa performance, Bob was spectacular, stopping 32 of the 35 shots he faced and, with the exception of the second goal of the game, not allowing anything too weaksauce.
The Blue Jackets picked up the three-gal win despite being outshot, 35-28, and losing 64% of the faceoffs. Eesh.
The power play looked better despite going 0/2 (I didn’t realize in real time how clean of a game it was) and the penalty kill got better as the night progressed (although I’ll admit it’s hard to gauge after only two attempts) but there’s a lot to like about this one.
Columbus is back in action on Saturday against Chicago.