Oct 20, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney (31) and defenseman Fedor Tyutin (51) defend their net against Vancouver Canucks right wing Dale Weise (32) during the 1st period of the game at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

CBJ Game Reaction/Preview: VAN/NJD

It was nice to get a win after one of the most disappointing games we’ve seen this far from CBJ. The loss to Washington made most of us want to pull our hair out, but I think we were all able to sit back and wait to see the boys take on a tough test provided by the Canucks. Much to our pleasure, they stepped up and gutted out a win, effectively ending a 4 game losing streak.

Oct 20, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen (19) and Vancouver Canucks center Mike Santorelli (25) face off during the 3rd period of the game at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets showed poise and confidence in a 3-1 win, with goals by Marian Gaborik, R.J. Umberger, and an empty netter by Ryan Johansen. But despite the small display of offense, the real story was backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney making 37 saves and allowing just one goal to Daniel Sedin on the power play.

Sergei Bobrovsky, after struggling to retain his form for a few games, was given a bench seat for the game, and McElhinney made the most of his opportunity. Many say they don’t want McElhinney to replace Bob, which isn’t going to happen, by the way, but I can guarantee it is much better to have your backup outperform your starter on occasion than never at all.

Bob will come back, good as new, with pressure from McElhinney’s performance on his shoulders, which ought to push him to be even better. It’s important to have a backup that is reliable and can be called upon in a pinch. The title of backup doesn’t warrant a complete lack of skill. McElhinney is still and NHL goalie, and I think many people forget that. Either way, he had a great game on sunday.

Tuesday’s game against the Devils is a big one. Though New Jersey has struggled, they are still dangerous. This game is not just a divisional matchup, but it’s also going to be a gut check for CBJ. Will they continue to win, or was the Vancouver game just a fluke? Here’s hoping it’s the first one.

Oct 17, 2013; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils Pcentre Adam Henrique (14) controls the puck with Ottawa Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur (16) in pursuit during the first period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils sit at 1-4-3, and the Jackets are at 3-5-0. Both have played 8 games, but NJD has won only one game. However, the teams are seperated by just 1 point. New Jersey’s 3 OT/SO losses have given them as many points, and those coupled with a win give them 5 points. A win over CBJ would put them over the Jackets by a point, despite the Jackets’ possession of one win more than the Devils.

This game clearly holds much weight in the Metropolitan Division, and it will be interesting to see how the teams match up.


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