The Columbus Blue Jackets (finally) have won three games in a row for the first time since November. It took overtime to deposit two points in the bank, but the home team got the job done in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena.
With there only being a month left to play in the regular season, the tone is heavily geared towards winning and not so much just playing well. Here’s some of what Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo had to say after starting between the pipes on Thursday (as well as on Monday in a victory):
Two wins. That’s all that matters…I don’t care how many goals I let in, whatever—Getting back-to-back chances (games as a starter) for me. Most important thing is to get wins and we got two wins…Good spot to build on right now.
Here’s how it all went down in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday:
First Period (so-so results, but good play on the ice)
Columbus actually looked good for the first few minutes, despite the Avalanche scoring twice (at the 6:55 and 7:07 mark of the first period) to open up the action and take a 2-0 lead.
The home team responded rather quickly with a goal of their own after going down by two. Two Colorado players collided into one another, leading to a turnover and a Boone Jenner goal with a primary assist from Alexander Wennberg at the 7:49 mark of the opening period and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Above I mentioned that “Columbus actually looked good” but didn’t get on the scoreboard first. Here’s what Head Coach John Tortorella had to say to echo the assertion:
Being down 2-0 at that point in time the way we were playing…we didn’t deserve it…We just kept on playing, obviously scoring…our first goal before they (Colorado) get to three…was…very important, we got it pretty early, pretty quickly after their second…We just have a couple of turnovers in that first period and they capitalize…I thought we played a good game right on through…Right from the drop of the puck.
Second Period (Vanek and Werenski spark the squad)
The second period was all Columbus. The Jackets outscored the Avalanche 3-0 in the period with two even-strength goals from Thomas Vanek (his first two goals as a member of the Blue Jackets) near the front of the net and a one-time shot from Zach Werenski on the power-play to give the defensemen his 14th goal of the season.
Vanek seems to be finally finding a groove with his new team, saying:
I feel a lot more comfortable the last…two (to) three days…It’s nice to contribute, but…again, the win is great.
Werenski now has scored three goals in his last four games and talked about how his goal-scoring ability has been better lately:
It’s kinda monkey-off-the-back type (of) thing…When you’re cold you’re cold and when you’re hot you’re hot…I’m starting to heat up at the right time so hopefully I can keep this going here.
Third Period (Of course it’s not over yet)
Colorado went into the third period trailing 4-2, but a power-play goal at the 13:26 mark followed by an even-strength goal at the 16:42 mark tied things up before heading to overtime.
The goal on the power play was a little unlucky for the CBJ—the pass that led to the score hit off of Nick Foligno’s skate, slowing down the puck and essentially putting it on a tee for Gabriel Landeskog, who drilled it into the top-right corner of the net.
The game-tying goal seemed kinda fluky with Carl Soderburg taking what seemed like a harmless shot from the boards near the faceoff circle. Although it was a rough goal for Korpisalo to give up, he seemed to have been perfectly screened on the play.
Vanek admitted the Jackets took their foot off the gas a bit, but gave credit where credit was due to the Avs for coming back to tie things up in the final 20 minutes of regulation:
In the third (period) I thought we kinda sat back again and…let them (Colorado) come at us…That’s a very good team…When you give them time and space, they do exactly what they did tonight.
Overtime (Two points are better than one)
Seth Jones, who led his team in ice time (23:59, nearly five more minutes than the second-highest total for a Columbus player), buried the game-winning goal just 59 seconds into overtime with teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois getting credit for the primary assist. Jones, who also had two assists in regulation described what happened on the goal that ultimately gave the CBJ a 5-4 victory:
I saw P.L. (Pierre-Luc Dubois)…Great player great vision…I try to go to the net with my stick down and, and I found it.
The victory for the Blue Jackets was not only a resilient one, but also marked the first time all season the team scored four regulation goals in three-straight games. While four goals is nice, four wins in a row would be even better for the CBJ, who will look to accomplish that feat tomorrow night when the Detroit Red Wings visit Nationwide Arena.