The Columbus Blue Jackets started their three-game California road trip in San Jose on Thursday night to take on the Sharks. After a couple disappointing losses, the CBJ were looking to play with more consistency and avoid a slow start once again.
Following Tuesday’s loss at home to the Detroit Red Wings, CBJ head coach John Tortorella claimed his team “didn’t show up” in the first period. Although Thursday’s result in the opening period was better than Tuesday’s three goals allowed, the Sharks scored first on a Kevin Lebanc slap shot 8:10 into the game. It marked the fourth straight game in which the opposition got on the board first against the Jackets.
With 3:30 remaining in the first, Anthony Duclair tallied his fifth goal of the season on a wrap-around to tie the game up at one. It was a key score to give the CBJ some life as they entered the first intermission.
The Blue Jackets added a pair of goals in the second period to take and extend their lead to 3-1. Seth Jones deflected one off his skate and past San Jose goaltender Aaron Dell around the half-way point of the period, and Nick Foligno snuck one into the net on a breakaway with 1:20 remaining to make it a two-goal game entering the final 20 minutes.
Down two, the Sharks stepped up the intensity in the third period. After putting up a solid performance in relief of Joonas Korpisalo on Tuesday night, Sergei Bobrovsky had another strong game on Thursday, and it was during the last period that he truly shined, stopping all 25 San Jose shots sent his way.
Tortorella praised his team’s performance away from the puck as well, as indicated by the 30 blocked shots the CBJ racked up on Thursday. Tortorella commented:
I think we had the right attitude tonight and the right style of play.
Fans have seen four-goal games from the CBJ offense plenty this year, but this kind of defensive performance was a first this season. Captain Nick Foligno talked about their play following the game, saying:
I was really impressed with our grind tonight, understanding that we’re on the road, we don’t have to do anything pretty, it’s just gotta be an ugly win, and it ended up being a pretty one because you’re doing the right things, and that’s what you want to see.
Josh Anderson sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 61 seconds left in the game to secure the 4-1 CBJ victory.
Although Thursday’s contest in San Jose is just one game for the Blue Jackets, it was certainly nice to see the club come out and put together a solid team effort in the road win. With another two games on the west coast this weekend, hopefully this one acts as a catalyst for the CBJ to get back on track and continue piling up points as the young season chugs along. Next up for the CBJ: a visit to L.A. on Saturday to face the Kings.