Despite a late two goal rally by Edmonton, the Columbus Blue Jackets were able to hold on and beat the Oilers 4-2. The win was not only a bounce back from Wednesday’s shutout loss to the Predators, but a direct response to the 7-0 beating Edmonton dished out just ten days prior.
Ryan Johansen got the scoring started for the Jackets at 7:50 into the first period on a wrist shot, set up by Matt Calvert. The goal, his ninth of the season, tied Johansen’s career high, set during his rookie season. The Jackets would finish the first period ahead 1-0, with a lot of hockey left to play in the first, the Jackets had to contain the Oilers offense and keep them from getting the equalizer.
Early in the 2nd period, Nick Schultz was sent off for tripping, and 13 seconds later, Jeff Petry sent the puck over the glass and earned himself a delay of game penalty. Bryzgalov stood strong for the Oilers and defended the 5 on 3, but with a little over half a minute left in the two man advantage, Andrew Ference was sent off for holding. Just as the 5 on 3 expired (or with 2-3 seconds left, according to the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast) Calvert sent a puck on net that was redirected by Artem Anisimov for the Jackets second goal.
Some controversy then broke out, as the refs claimed the goal came after the 5 on 3 expired, therefore the Jackets power play was done. Coach Todd Richards believed the goal came with 2-3 seconds left on the 5 on 3, therefore the Jackets should have another minute and a half on the man advantage. The argument from the CBJ bench did nothing to sway the refs opinion, and the power play ended.
While the 2nd period has given the Blue Jackets some trouble, that would not be the case tonight. 10:30 into the 2nd, once again on the power play, Nick Foligno beat Bryzgalov with a wrist shot, assisted by Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen. Seven minutes later, Jack Skille snapped a wrist shot from the point past Bryzgalov to give the Jackets a 4-0 lead at the end of two.
Starting the third with a 4-0 lead, Jackets fans were hungry for more offense, and it appears that the players felt the same way. However, things started to unravel for Columbus, and the control they had over Edmonton started to diminish. Bryzgalov was benched, and Devan Dubnyk took over in net. Columbus looked like they were forcing things on offense and trying to hard to put more goals on the board. In his post game comments, Coach Todd Richards made it clear that this was not part of the game plan:
My message to the team wasn’t to go out and score more goals after the second. I wanted us to continue to come out and play a hard game and make it difficult on them. We went the opposite direction.
Half way through the first, Sam Gagner broke up Sergei Bobrovsky‘s second shutout, but the Jackets still had a 4-1 lead. But Columbus continued to get off their game and started to take bad penalties. After having only one PP in the first, and two in the second, the Oilers were on the man advantage 4 times in the third. Edmonton was able to convert once on the power play, a goal from David Perron, which made it 4-2. While things appeared that they were going to unravel, the Jackets were able to hold on to the two goal lead and get the win.
Third period aside, it was a good game from the Blue Jackets. However, a bounce back win no longer impresses me. The Jackets have shown several times this season they can regroup after a tough loss and win a game. What they need to do is starting stringing some wins together. It has been over a month since Columbus has had consecutive wins.
Tonight’s win over the Oilers will mean a lot more if the Jackets can get a win over Boston tomorrow. It’s a quick turn and a road game, but the Jackets need to come out strong and show some consistency.