In the final game of 2018, the Blue Jackets found themselves in a matchup with the Ottawa Senators. With the Senators coming in as one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, Monday night’s game was one that the CBJ had to have.
In front of a rowdy New Year’s Eve crowd at Nationwide Arena, the play in the first period from both sides was a bit choppy. Neither team got much going, as indicated by the 12 combined shots on goal registered during the first period, and the contest remained scoreless heading into the second period.
At the 8:15 mark of the second period, former Ohio State Buckeye Ryan Dzingel got a puck past Sergei Bobrovsky just five seconds after the expiration of a Senators power play to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Just 81 seconds later, Zach Werenski got the Jackets on the board, taking a pass from Artemi Panarin on the doorstep and beating Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg to tie the game up at one.
Pierre Luc Dubois, who got an assist on the Werenski goal, continued to make his mark on the game in the third period. PLD scored 3:59 into the final twenty minutes and was credited with another one with 8:45 left to make it 4-2.
The Sens didn’t give up. Just 21 seconds after Dubois’ second goal of the evening, Bobby Ryan scored on a deflection then Dzingel added his second of the night with 6:26 left in the third period to tie the game back up late.
With 2:01 remaining in the game, Zach Werenski chipped a puck past Hogberg off a beautiful feed from Cam Atkinson to give the CBJ a late lead.
With Hogberg out of the net and the Senators in desperation mode, the Jackets added a couple more to seal the 6-3 victory.
Cam Atkinson scored the first one with a minute left, winning a battle in the neutral zone to get free and bury the puck into the empty net. Josh Anderson added the final goal of the night on a shot from deep in his own zone with 26 seconds left in the game.
While the game was certainly closer than the final score indicated, the Jackets did what they needed to do: grab two points in a game they should win.
With 2018 behind them, the CBJ can look forward to what lies ahead in 2019. They’ve had a good start to the season, but now is when the grind starts to kick in as teams continue to get better and better. Up first for the CBJ in 2019 will be the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.