The game last night was a critical one for the Jackets. They were (and still are) in the midst of an extremely tight playoff race. Before last night, they were two points behind the third place Philadelphia Flyers and three behind the second place NY Rangers. They were chased closely behind the Washington Capitals and the New Jersey Devils, who were one and two points behind the Jackets respectively. All four of these teams played last night, and fortunately for Columbus only the Devils picked up a win. The losses of NYR, PHI and WAS meant the two points up for grabs against Detroit were that much more important.
And they got them. The game in Detroit was a close one, being tied 1-1 after the first period. The Jackets relied heavily on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the first period. They captured a goal, and were lucky to keep the Wings to only one as well. Many sloppy turnovers and a lack of puck control could have resulted in a much worse first period for Columbus, but Bobrovsky was excellent, getting in front of 17 of 18 shots in the first period. Despite only registering 8 shots on goal in the first period, Nick Foligno found the back of the net while laying on his back in front of Detroit netminder Petr Mrazek and tied the game at one.
The second period was much better for the Jackets. They had more control of the puck and played a much more consistent game, but were unable to register a goal. Fortunately, they didn’t give one up either, and the game remained tied at 1 after 40 minutes.
The last period was a memorable one for Jackets fans. About half way through the period, Boone Jenner put the Jackets ahead on a beautiful goal that beat Mrazek. Less than forty seconds later, the Jackets scored again. Brandon Dubinsky added the tally this time off of a beautiful pass from Matt Calvert, putting the Jackets ahead 3-1. Later in the period, with about four minutes to go in the game, Derek MacKenzie put the game away for Columbus by scoring the Jackets’ fourth and final goal of the night.
It was an exciting game, and a critical two points. With the win in Detroit, the Jackets tied the Flyers in points (73) moved above them into the third place in the Metropolitan Division, avoided being caught up by New Jersey, and put themselves just one point behind the New York Rangers and the second place in the Metropolitan Division. They are in a good spot now, but it isn’t time for celebration yet. The Jackets need to keep on playing as well as they have been recently if they hope to hold on to their Metropolitan Division spot and make it into the Playoffs this season.