This league is a little bit crazy right now when you look at the scores, you look at the goal scoring, you look at leads that are given up. A two or three-goal lead early on in a game, even half way through the second, you can’t lock it down, there’s no such thing anymore. So you just gotta keep playing.
Those are the words of CBJ assistant coach Brad Larsen after Thursday night’s game in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Coming off a 9-6 loss at home to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, Thursday’s contest was no easier for the Blue Jackets, although they were able to ultimately come away with two points.
After controlling most of the first period and coming away even in a scoreless second period, the Jackets scored 5:15 into the third period as Boone Jenner found the back of the net to take a two goal lead on the road in Philly.
As the common hockey phrase warns, however, the two-goal lead did indeed prove to be dangerous for the Blue Jackets.
After registering 11 shots in the first two periods of the game, the Flyers outshot the CBJ 15-4 in the third period. Travis Sanheim, who hadn’t scored a goal all season long, beat CBJ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky twice in the span of 2:05 in the third to tie the game up at 3-3 to ultimately send the game to overtime.
Fortunately for the Jackets, things didn’t last long in OT. Cam Atkinson, who had been held scoreless through regulation trying to extend an 11-game point scoring streak, gathered a Philly turnover in the CBJ offensive zone and found a wide open Seth Jones, who ripped a shot past Flyers goalie Anthony Stolarz for his second goal of the evening to give the Jackets a 4-3 win just 10 seconds into overtime.
The mood in the CBJ dressing room wasn’t overly positive after the game, although there were certainly no complaints over the two points. The consensus was that the team has to do a better job holding leads, avoiding situations where they’re scrambling late to get a win in a game they controlled for the most part. Brandon Dubinsky summed it up nicely, saying:
Obviously happy with the win and the two points, but made it too hard on ourselves for sure.
The performance of the Blue Jackets’ power play was a scrutinized after the game as well. The CBJ went 0-for-5 on the man advantage, which certainly didn’t help the cause as they struggled – and failed – to hold the late lead. With Head Coach John Tortorella under the weather during the game, as indicated by the hoodie he was wearing behind the bench, Brad Larsen, who coaches the power play unit, addressed the media following Thurday’s contest. Larsen commented:
Our PP stunk tonight. It was as bad as I’ve seen it…It was ugly tonight.
Regardless of how it looked, in the end the Blue Jackets picked up two points and onto the next one.
With the win, the Blue Jackets improved to 16-10-2, setting up an important December matchup on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. The CBJ and Caps have obvious history having played each other in the postseason last year, but the two Metropolitan Division foes have bounced between first and second place in the division for a few weeks now.