This recap was going to take on a different tone if the Columbus Blue Jackets from the first period stayed on the ice the rest of the night. Instead, the team regrouped between periods, and the team we have come to expect finally made its appearance in the second. While Winnipeg attempted to claw back into the game, Columbus was able to keep them in check and win the game decidedly, 6-3. Next we’ll take a period by period recap of the game.
Winnipeg got on the board first…except they didn’t. Blake Wheeler was initially awarded a goal, but it was discovered the puck was batted in off a high stick. However, a couple minutes later (4:32 in to the 1st) Curtis McElhinney was unable to control a puck outside of the crease and Eric O’Dell was able to put the puck home and give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead. The early goal served as an exclamation point on a strong start for Winnipeg. The Blue Jackets were able to kill off two Winnipeg power plays and the period ended with the score still at 1-0. The intensity from Friday night’s game just wasn’t there, nor was the offense. Winnipeg outshot Columbus 7-6 in the period.
Winnipeg went back on the power play after Brandon Dubinsky was whistled off for holding 27 seconds into the period. However, even before the groans finished from Columbus fans, Mark Letestu took off down the ice and scored short handed to tie the game back up at 1-1. Four minutes later, amazing four way passing in transition led to a beautiful Cam Atkinson goal that put the Jackets ahead 2-1. The goal is already being listed among the best passing goals of the 2013-14 season.
Winnipeg coach Claude Noel used his timeout to try to get things sorted out, but 7 minutes later, Nick Foligno made something out of nothing and gave the Jackets a two goal lead. Shortly thereafter Boone Jenner got hauled down by Adam Party on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot from the refs. Jenner scored on a quick release, low on the far side to give the Jackets a 4-1 lead. Winnipeg was down, but they were not done yet. Tobias Enstrom scored 11:55 into the second to bring Winnipeg back within two. The Enstrom goal also brought the Winnipeg crowd back from the dead and got the arena going again. Despite the new life, the Enstrom goal would prove to be the only one in the period for Winnipeg, and the second ended 4-2 in favor of the Blue Jackets.
In the third, the Jackets picked up right where they left off. Artem Anisimov almost scored, but was denied by the cross bar. Boone Jenner was able to maneuver in an tally his second goal of the game four and a half minutes into the final frame to give the Jackets a 5-2 lead. Dalton Prout mixed it up with a few Winnipeg players on the faceoff after the goal, and was called for cross checking. Bryan Little would score on the ensuing power play, shortly before it expired, bringing Winnipeg back within 2. After the Jets and the Jackets traded power plays Mark Letestu slapped in a rebound to make it 6-3 Jackets, restoring the three goal lead. That would provide to be enough and the Jackets would leave the MTS Centre victorious!
Before the game, I was worried that this had the makings for a classic “trap game”. Columbus was coming off a big win against Carolina, and Winnipeg was well rested and try to get off a four game losing streak. Couple that with the lackluster first, and my initial thoughts were that I had been right in worrying. Thankfully, the Columbus team that took to the ice in the second was not going to fall into any traps tonight. The Jackets dictated the play and prevented Winnipeg from getting back into the game.
Tonight was an important win for the Jackets and overall a great game. Tonight’s win marked their third in a row, which ties their season high. It also put the Jackets over the .500 mark. The Jackets will be off tomorrow, before taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets