The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t wowed fans in 2018, but a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night improved the squad’s record to 5-4-0 in the new year.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a long way from being the team they want to be—scoring more than two goals in regulation in only one of their last ten games. However, they’ll take the two points from Thursday night as they head into the All-Star Break tied for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
CBJ Head Coach John Tortorella described his team as one that lacks “consistency” and a group who as a whole needs “to get better”.
The Jackets and Coyotes entered the third period of last night’s game scoreless, thanks in large part to Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Here’s some of what Torts had to say about his netminder:
Second half of the second period when we just turned the thing (puck) over left and right, that’s when Bob came up big.
It only took 79 seconds for Columbus to strike first in the third period. While on the power play, Seth Jones fired a shot from just inside the blue line that was deflected by Alexander Wennberg into the back of the net.
Jones talked about the goal that put the Jackets up 1-0 afterwards:
We hadn’t had a lot of tip goals this year…or kind of dirty goals…it was nice to get one there on the power play for sure.
It only took a little over six minutes for the Yotes to tie the score 1-1. A Josh Anderson penalty for interference led to an Arizona power play, with Brendan Perlini getting a rebound not too far outside the blue paint then slapping the puck past Bobrovsky.
Wennberg said there were “Not a lot of chances” to score in the game, but he got the primary assist on the game-winning goal with 3:03 remaining in regulation.
Cam Atkinson, who returned from a month-long absence due to injury on Thursday, started the play by skating the puck behind the net in the offensive zone and ringing it around the boards. After making a play behind the net, Atkinson went back door and was the beneficiary of a great pass from Wennberg to easily tap the puck home to secure a 2-1 victory for the road club. Goaltender Antti Raanta didn’t stand a chance once the puck got past him on the perfect cross-ice feed.
Torts summed up why his team got the two-point result saying:
They found a way to make big plays at key times.
The CBJ may need more than just a couple big plays at key times if they hope to remain in the mix with multiple contenders in the Metro Division at the end of the season, but there’s no doubt the team is satisfied heading into the break with a win under their belt.