Both teams played hard. Didn’t give each other many scoring opportunities. It was a fun game to be involved in. It’s the hardest we’ve played, and I give them credit too because they were hard to play against.
Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella tried to keep a professional demeanor, but you could tell, deep down, he was ecstatic after watching 60 minutes of a physical and hard-fought hockey game that improved his team’s road record to 6-2-1 this season.
Cam Atkinson scored a power-play goal to put the Jackets up 1-0 at the 1:29 mark of the second period, but it was the penalty kill for Columbus that was most impressive part of the evening. The CBJ were a perfect 4-4 on the PK, only allowing a single shot while being shorthanded on Monday night. Defenseman Ryan Murray said “I think all around we were just good in the pressure”. The Jackets made every entry and pass one that the Stars had to work for while on the man advantage, and the extra effort paid off for the road team.
Dallas would tie the score, making it a 1-1 with 1:40 remaining in the 2nd period after Alexander Radulov scored his sixth goal in eight games thanks to a nifty backhanded pass from Miro Heiskanen. The goal didn’t phase Columbus heading into the 2nd intermission. Here’s what Defenseman Seth Jones had to say about his team’s defensive performance and mindset in the final period:
We weren’t forcing anything…I thought we defended beautifully in the neutral zone…didn’t give em’ much…[not] many chances in front of our net and not many odd-man rushes against us…and we capitalized there with nine minutes left.
Pierre Luc Dubois did capitalize with 9:39 remaining in regulation, in what would end up being the game winner and final goal of the contest. Cam Atkinson got behind the net, took a pass from Ryan Murray, skated behind the goaltender and passed the puck to an open Dubois who buried it on the doorstep to make it 2-1.
Dubois noticed that special teams have went from a weakness to a strength recently for the Jackets:
Our penalty kill’s doing a really good job right now and I think our power play too…That was a struggle at the start of the year…that we’re getting cured right now.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was a stud, saving 26 of the 27 shots he faced. And it would be wrong not to mention Josh Anderson and Jamie Benn dropping the gloves and going at it less than eight minutes into the game.
Torts made it clear that some players on his team needed to be more physical, but it looked like the entire team responded to the postgame comments from their coach after a 5-4 shootout loss on Saturday night.
Columbus is still only 4-4-1 in their home building, and will look to raise their record at Nationwide Arena above the .500 mark on Thursday when they face the Florida Panthers.