We played to our identity all night…I thought we were physical. I thought we competed. I thought were really good in our neutral zone, which set up some goals for us…Our power play comes through with a big one…We played with the lead too, which is important…It’s a heck of a win.
Columbus Blue Jackets Captain Nick Foligno was impressed with his team’s performance in a 4-1 home victory over the Dallas Stars.
The first period was a little sloppy, but entertaining, as both teams did a good job in the neutral zone defensively to limit the other from getting much going. At the 17:36 mark, the Jackets had their first man advantage of the game and they converted. Anthony Duclair fired the puck past a screened Ben Bishop, to give the home team a 1-0 lead, and, more importantly, finally give Columbus a power-play goal to break their slump over the past few games with 60 seconds left in the opening period.
Duclair knows this team can be special if they execute:
If we play as a five-man unit…Play together, every shift, I think we can beat anybody in this league.
Duclair not only scored his sixth goal of the season, but also has scored three of the seven power-play goals for the CBJ this season. He’s clearly making a HUGE impact on his new team.
Speaking of making an impact, it was defenseman Markus Nutivaara who sent a slap shot home to put Columbus up 2-0 at the 11:05 mark of the second period. He made sure to compliment his teammate Cam Atkinson on the play, saying:
It was a great screen from Cam.
Nutivaara’s career high is 23 points in a season, coming a year ago. He’s already got 8 points through 15 games, making him on pace to surpass the 40-point mark this campaign. Head Coach John Tortorella had this to say about the 24-year-old defenseman:
I think early on in his career with us…You wonder if he thought he belonged here…Now, I think he knows he’s a good player…and he plays with that type of arrogance.
The swag was on display from Markus, but he also is aware of what the team needs to do to be successful:
When you focus on the right things…good things happen…We just had to trust ourselves so we could play like that all night.
Torts seemed to be pleased with Columbus’ performance:
I was happy with the…energy, I thought we checked well…You never know coming off that west-coast trip what you’re gonna get. I thought we had a good start…We were patient, we didn’t give up a lot of odd-man rushes…Our neutral zone was better as far as turnovers. So it was a good game for us…The overall game I thought the determination was at a high level. And I think that’s the most important thing that we’re trying to be consistent with–is the style of play…The style of play, the main part of that with a capital D. is determination and I thought we had that tonight.
The Jackets were determined to to extend their lead in the 2nd period, and 16 seconds after a power-play opportunity for them expired they did just that. Columbus did a nice job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone before Alexander Wennberg passed the puck from behind the net to Nick Foligno, who had a massive windup before firing a one timer into the back of the net to put the home team up 3-0.
The first four minutes of the third period was probably the sloppiest stretch of the game for the Jackets, whose penalty kill came up short at the 3:55 mark, when Jamie Benn beat Sergei Bobrovsky to make it a score of 3-1.
The goal was the only blemish on the stat sheet for Bob, who was named the star of the game, saving 27 of 28 shots. Torts had this to say about his goaltender’s outing:
He (Bobrovsky) was in control…I thought he was thinking one play ahead all night long…I thought that was a key for some of the saves he’s made on some of those cross-ice passes.
Ryan Murray left no doubt, scoring an empty netter with just under two minutes in regulation. Afterwards he said “You could really tell it was a full 60-minute game”.
The Blue Jackets, for good reason, had a lot of good things to say about what happened on the ice on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena. However, the club knows they need to be more consistent and keep getting better. Murray phrased it well, adding:
We just wanna…keep taking our game higher and higher and better and better and more consistent…The more opportunities we have, the more games that we can string together here it’ll be better for us.
The CBJ will be off on Wednesday and Thursday before heading east to face the Washington Capitals on Friday night.