Not a single player from the top line got a point for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, but the team still earned a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes thanks in large part to special teams.
The Coyotes scored two unanswered goals in the second period to tie the game up 2-2. The Jackets needed a spark, and they got just that when Josh Anderson tipped a shot from Seth Jones past Darcy Kuemper and into the back of the net. The goal took place while Columbus was on the man advantage and ended up being the game winner. Alexander Wennberg, who scored a power-play goal on Tuesday night, was also credited with an assist on the play.
Following the aforementioned goal, the CBJ killed off three penalties the rest of the way en route to the win. Despite the recent losing streak, the penalty kill has been a major strength for the club. Since the new year, the Jackets have only given up one goal while on the PK, rising to fourth in the National Hockey League, killing off 84 percent of power plays for the opposition.
It’s a bit of a stretch to say this team will look like a cup contender when April arrives, but if their PK can produce like it has lately, they’ll likely give themselves a chance to compete with anybody.
Cam Atkinson was pestering players on every inch of the ice when the team was shorthanded, while Anderson’s size and speed have been on full display.
There’s not a whole lot to celebrate in Columbus, Ohio right now with possible trades involving Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin taking up most of the headlines. While that’s happening, take a moment to appreciate the hottest penalty-killing unit in the league.
Columbus will be back at it tomorrow night out west against the Vegas Golden Knights. Puck drop is scheduled for shortly after 10:00 PM ET.