We were OK…We found a way to win.
Those were the words of CBJ head coach John Tortorella after Thursday night’s win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Despite riding a seven game point streak and a five game winning streak, with four of those coming against the Metropolitan Division, Tortorella hasn’t been crazy about how his team has played recently.
Oliver Bjorkstrand echoed similar sentiments after the game, saying:
We were just a little inconsistent tonight. Just one of those games where it’s back and forth. They have a jump for a few minutes and we have the jump the next few minutes. It was just one of those games, but lucky for us we got the last jump.
The “last jump” Bjorkstrand referred to nearly didn’t have the opportunity to happen. After New York took a 3-2 lead in the third period when their leading scorer, Chris Kreider, tallied his second goal of the evening with 7:54 left, the Rangers appeared to score again with 4:36 left to take a two goal lead.
The Blue Jackets coaching staff was quick to challenge the call on the ice, which was ultimately overturned as the Rangers were offside entering the zone ahead of the goal.
Zach Werenski commented on the mood of the CBJ bench when the call was overturned, saying:
When they score that fourth goal, we were kind of deflated on the bench a little bit, it’s kind of a dagger. But once it’s overturned we have new life and we’re right back in the game. We know one shot can tie it up.
With 2:20 left in regulation, Boone Jenner won a faceoff in the offensive zone back to Werenski, who sent a one timer, albeit tipped out front once or twice, past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game up at 3-3.
Things didn’t last long in overtime, as Seth Jones fed Artemi Panarin, who found Pierre-Luc Dubois in the neutral zone with speed. PLD skated in on Lundqvist and got the puck across the line to net the 4-3 game winner for the CBJ in OT.
After the game, Dubois described the play:
It was a nice little regroup by Jonesy and Bread, and Bread just gave me the puck and I had speed, got to get wide and almost fell, and caught myself back up and just got to the net and it went in.
John Tortorella elaborated a little bit on how he thinks his team is performing following the win, commenting:
I’m not trying to criticize the team, I don’t want to be too hard on it, because this is a big part of the National Hockey League, it happens every night. Teams don’t play their best but they find ways to win. We have a little bit of a run going here. I think prior to these last three games, we played five or six really good games and didn’t get all the results that we wanted, so I think it evens out. We just got to keep on trying to get getting better each and every day.
Torts summed up his thoughts:
We’ll grab the two points, get on the plane, and get ready for a pretty tough Toronto team tomorrow.
Now at 22-12-3, the Blue Jackets are on a bit of a roll despite not playing their best hockey. The top three teams in the Metropolitan Division have each captured at least 15 points in their last ten games (Washington Capitals have 16), so the standings haven’t changed much in the last couple weeks despite the positive results.
The Jackets will face the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Atlantic Division on Friday night at Nationwide Arena. Despite having 52 points this season, the second highest point total in the NHL, the Leafs also come into the contest in second place in their division by a whopping eight points behind the best team in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning.