With the trade deadline looming and rumors of the Columbus Blue Jackets dumping their top two players in the air, the team made a statement on Friday making a deal with the Ottawa Senators for center Matt Duchene.
Normally after swinging a trade there’s a day or two before the involved players can join their new teams. With the CBJ up in Ottawa for Friday’s game anyway, the club’s new playmaker was able to join the squad immediately after switching dressing rooms midday.
Throughout the first two periods of the game, it was clear the newly shuffled lines were feeling each other out. Although four power play attempts in the first period and a combined 31 shots on goal for the Jackets in the first forty minutes led to only one goal, it didn’t feel like a disappointing outcome for the team. The potential on the ice from the addition of just one player was evident.
CBJ head coach John Tortorella chose to add Duchene to his top line, making it one of the most dangerous in the league.
Cam Atkinson. Matt Duchene. Artemi Panarin. Just saying those names together out load can make opposing goaltenders shake in their boots.
All things considered, Senators goalie Craig Anderson put up quite a performance. He stopped 37 of the 40 shots sent on net and got some help from his post and crossbar friends to keep the Jackets out of the net for long periods of time in Friday’s contest.
Newcomer Matt Duchene talked about the chemistry he had with Panarin and Atkinson, saying:
It was great. We had tons of chances, we didn’t play at all in our end. We had tons of shots on net. We felt like we were pretty snake bitten tonight to be honest, so it’s great that it’s the first game, it’s just going to get better.
The Blue Jackets’ first goal came off the stick of arguably their hottest player, Josh Anderson. Fed by Pierre-Luc Dubois, who was shifted off the first line due to Duchene’s presence in the lineup, Anderson sent a one-timer past the Sens goalie to make it 1-0 at the 14:43 mark of the first period.
Despite the lack of success on the man advantage, the CBJ penalty kill unit was strong, and even generated a couple quality scoring chances of their own. Boone Jenner was denied on a shorthanded breakaway at the tail end of the second period, then Cam Atkinson buried a shorty of his own 6:45 into the third period to put the CBJ up 2-0.
The Jackets struck once more with 2:46 left in the contest when Oliver Bjorkstrand beat Anderson in on a two-on-one opportunity with Zach Werenski.
Down on the other end of the ice, Sergei Bobrovsky registered his fourth shutout of the season in the 3-0 win over Ottawa, saving all 22 of the shots sent his way.
Tortorella, seemingly happy with his team’s performance in the victory, wants to see them keep it going in their next game. After noting the Sens played shorthanded without a few of their top guys, Torts said:
Tomorrow night’s game is going to be a whole different animal and I want to see how we’re going to react.
The Jackets have a quick turnaround now to prepare for their next opponent, the San Jose Sharks. Back at Nationwide Arena with their new addition, the CBJ will be taking on one of the best teams in the Western Conference. While there’s no doubt the team got better over the last 24 hours, Saturday’s game will be a tough test for the Blue Jackets, who need every possible point at this time of the year.