Blue Jackets Afternoon Coffee: Pittsburgh Penguins


It was pure Cam-sanity for the Blue Jackets last night in Nationwide Arena.

The CBJ and the Pens took it to overtime last night, after an 1-1 battle in regulation. The first score of the game didn’t come until a Pittsburgh power play at 9:15 into the 3rd period by Evgeni Malkin. After the Pittsburgh fans erupted in the stands Jacket centerman Ryan Johansen answered back just 3 minutes later, tying the game 1-1.

The Jackets saw their first 3 on 3 overtime situation of the season last night. The first 3 man line up for the CBJ consisted of Ryan Johansen taking the faceoff, with winger Brandon Saad and Jack Johnson playing on the blue line. Halfway through the overtime the Blue Jackets finally found their opening. Cam Atkinson with an assist from Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson found the net to end the game; 2-1 Jackets.

Through the course of the season I’ve found myself writing the phrase “one of the chippiest games of the season”, well this game is no different. There was a playoff atmosphere in Nationwide last night you could sense it in the stands, and you could clearly see it on the ice. Columbus and Pittsburgh both racked up 17 minutes of penalties a piece; both teams certainly deserving a few more then what were called. While only one official fighting penalty was called there were quite a few roughing and unsportsmanlike penalties called for both teams. The most common denominator in everything was Penguin Evgeni Malkin who racked up a total of 9 penalty minutes. Brandon Dubinsky received criticisim for his cross check on Sidney Crosby that hit Crosby directly in the back of the neck. It’s worth noting that the cross check happened on a bent over Crosby and appeared like normal banging in the front of the net. Dubinsky said the following after the game

"There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” Dubinsky said. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front."

3 final thoughts for last nights game.

  • The “Lake Erie Blue Line” of Andrew Bonderchuk and Kevin Fulk looked solid last night. It’s a little nerve-racking when your 3rd defensive pairing is made of guys recently called up from the AHL but the 2 looked solid. Tortorella is clearly going to limit ice time of the pair, but for being green in one of the hardest games that could happen, they showed up. They clearly are adjusting to the speed of the NHL vs AHL but both skaters show promise in becoming competent NHL caliber defensemen.
  • Cam Atkinson is showing his value as a possible trade piece. It’s no secret that if the Blue Jackets were to move someone it would likely be Atkinson, and he’s making it easier for teams to say yes to. But on the other side of the coin, with the big plays being made by Atkinson it’s going to be harder to say goodbye.
  • This is what Blue Jackets hockey under John Tortorella will look like. And if a team wants to play them the way that Columbus wants to play, your going to see a grinder of game like you saw tonight. Just ask the Kings, Blues and Penguins (twice).

Here are Union and Blue’s 3 stars of the game:

Cam Atkinson, Columbus

  • 1 goal and 5 shots on goal for a total of 1 point

Mark-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh

  • Saving 41 of 43 shots having a .953 save percentage

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus

  • Saving 24 of 25 shots having a .960 save percentage