The Columbus Blue Jackets hadn’t had a performance to get very excited about since the trade deadline passed. That changed on Saturday night with a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus got on the board early, with Boone Jenner putting the puck past Matt Murray only 2:31 into the game to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The line consisting of Boone Jenner, Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno seemed impressive throughout the 60 minutes of action. Anderson racked up an assist, seven shots and seven hits with 19:25 of ice time. Foligno also had an assist and showed some aggression in his 19:49 of action.
Head Coach John Tortorella talked about the aforementioned line afterwards:
It’s who we are…I think they have to keep reminding us…how we have to play…They certainly lead by example that way…It’s a line that’s really done some really good things for us…and just set the tone for us.
Sergei Bobrovsky kept the Pens scoreless in the first period and saved 28 of the 29 shots on goal in the game. Tortorella had this to say about his goaltender’s physical and mental state:
Bob has told me…he’s mentally good. He’s physically good.
Later, Torts added:
I just thought he was really confident in how he played.
Prior to Saturday’s win, the CBJ had lost eight consecutive games to the Penguins. After taking the early lead, Columbus set the tone and never let the Pens tie up the score.
At the 2:17 mark of the second period, it was Phil Kessel who fell down and turned over the puck. Cam Atkinson took advantage, scoring his 37th goal of the season. It was a shorthanded goal and also ended up being the game winner.
Pittsburgh did respond to make it a 2-1 game a few minutes later, but it was Oliver Bjorkstrand who added an insurance goal with 3:01 remaining in regulation to make it 3-1.
With less than two minutes remaining, Atkinson put the icing on the cake, scoring an empty netter to make it a final score of 4-1.
There’s no denying that the Jackets beating the Penguins is a big deal. However, Columbus has a four-game week ahead of them against three teams (play the Boston Bruins twice) who are ahead of them in the standings. While Saturday’s win surely gives the team a confidence boost, there are no guarantees for what’s to come. Next week starts with a road matchup against the New York Islanders on Monday evening.