Post Game: Columbus Blue Jackets @ New Jersey Devils


Dec 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Jack Skille (5) celebrates with right wing Cam Atkinson (13) after a game winning goal by Atkinson during the shootout at Prudenial Center. Columbus Blue Jackets won the game 2-1 in a shootout Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night the Columbus Blue Jackets took to the ice in New Jersey to face the Devils. The Jackets were coming off a recent victory in Carolina before the Christmas break, and were hoping to ride the momentum against another Metropolitan Division foe. Curtis McElhinney was between the pipes in a battle against the living legend Martin Brodeur, and it was goaltending that decided the outcome. Artem Anisimov scored the Jackets’ lone goal in the first period, McElhinney stood tall through overtime and shootout, and Cam Atkinson scored the only goal in the shootout to give the CBJ a 2-1 win on the road.
Anisimov scored at the 7:34 mark of the first period, shelving a loose puck in traffic with Brodeur sprawling. It started on an Atkinson drive to the net wide and he fed the puck across the crease to a crashing Brandon Dubinsky. Dubi got a stick on the feed but Brodeur kicked his leg out and stopped it. The rebound came out into the low slot and Anisimov backhanded it up high over Brodeur despite being tied up with the Devils’ defense. It was Anisimov’s 12th, putting him second in goals on the CBJ behind Ryan Johansen.
The first period was solid for the Jackets, and easily could have been even better if not for the play of Brodeur. I mean, it’s kind of what Marty does; stop pucks and keep his team in games. Columbus was able to keep New Jersey relatively subdued as the Devils only recorded 5 shots in the opening frame. Plenty of support and puck control made it easy for McElhinney.

Dec 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA;New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov (28) cross checks Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Blake Comeau (14) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The second period saw more of the same for the Jackets. They created many opportunities on Brodeur, but he was up to the task. Columbus fired 10 more shots on goal in the middle period, making their total 18; compared to a minuscule 4 for Jersey in the 2nd. The second ended with the CBJ still hanging on to a 1-0 lead.
In the third the Devils were able to kill off a 58 second 5 on 3 advantage to keep the margin at 1. The Jackets had opportunities but could not cash in. Then at the 5:45 mark Adam Henrique was able to beat a strong McElhinney to knot the game at 1. This would stand through the rest of the frame and we would need overtime to settle it.
In the overtime frame the Jackets had 3 shots and were still not able to solve Brodeur. McElhinney saw 0 shots in overtime. A shootout was needed to decide a winner. McElhinney was able to stop all 3 Devils shooters, and Brodeur was able to stop Mark Letestu and Ryan Johansen. It was Atkinson, in a ‘score and win’ scenario, who was able to beat Brodeur by faking left then back to his forehand and slide the puck along the ice through Brodeur’s legs. It was a beautiful goal and the CBJ got their 2 points.
All in all it was a solid defensive effort for the boys in Union Blue. They were able to keep the Devils off the board for most of the game. They only limited New Jersey to 17 shots and were getting great looks of their own. If not for facing a hall of famer in net, the CBJ could have run roughshod over the Devils. The only mistake made was getting caught in transition on the Henrique goal. McElhinney, despite not working as much as his counterpart, was flawless and was downright great in the shootout. This 2 points was huge, putting Columbus right into the thick of the playoff hunt, and more efforts like this will keep them there. Next game is Sunday at 6pm as the Pittsburgh Penguins invade Nationwide Arena again.