Win at Ottawa looked more like ‘Blue Jacket hockey’

The Blue Jackets started a five-game Canadian road trip Sunday afternoon in
Ottawa. Throw in a 1 p.m. start coupled with a bad loss last Friday
evening, and no one knew what to expect once the puck dropped. When the
final horn sounded, Columbus was celebrating with a 4-1 victory over the
Senators. It was arguably their best, most complete game of the
season.

“I think that’s more ‘Blue Jacket’ hockey
right there,” said head coach Todd Richards. “It’s something we were
accustomed to last season. When we were playing our best hockey, that’s
the way we were playing. Tonight was a 60 minute
effort.”

They took to the ice and played with
determination and pride. After being called out by Richards on Friday,
there were no passengers along for the ride. Boone Jenner made his
return to the lineup after missing nine games due to leg injury.

Richards held true to word by dropping the
underperforming Artem Anisimov to the fourth line and inserting Jenner
into the top line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. Credited with
six hits, Jenner had 16:46 of ice time, 2:46 of which was on the power
play. He made his presence felt on the forecheck and was a spark of
energy for the club.

“A big boost for us was
Boone coming back”, Richards said. “We got some games from our
leaders. It was four lines. We got some big saves from (goalie Sergie Bobrovsky)
when we needed them. Obviously our specialty teams, power play goals,
there’s lots of things I think you can look at.

“Boone
was good. He missed a lot of hockey and sometimes you’re wondering
about the timing and execution part of the game. I thought he came in
and did a good job. It’s that ‘trickle-down effect’, when one guy goes
out. I think we got that from all four lines and he was a big part of
it.”

Overall, Richards was happy with the way his
team played the game.

“To me, it was a focused group tonight. It was
committed group. It was all 20 guys. We had 20 guys all committed to do
the same thing.”

Forward Ryan Johansen was
arguably the best player on the ice for either team. He got the scoring
started with a power play goal in the first period off a nice feed from
Ryan Murray.

“I think we were all on the same page,” Johansen said. “We
knew that we wanted to get off to a good start with this road trip.
Starting with Bob, all the way through our ‘D’ and up to our forwards,
everybody was great tonight.

“For the most part,
we played a complete game tonight. A lot of good things we can take out
of this game going forward.”

They played well in
the neutral zone to keep Ottawa contained while getting bodies in
front of the net offensively. Puck possession and face-offs were managed
well also.

“Our puck management was excellent,” said Johansen. “When
we needed to get pucks in, we did it. When we needed to get them out, we
did that. Everybody made great, smart plays.”

The
win extended their point streak to five games in a row. Contributions
came from everyone in the lineup, whether it was a timely hit or putting
the puck in the back of the net.

“I think just having the positive
attitude paid off,” said defenseman Jack Johnson. “We didn’t let
ourselves get down, even though we were in some tight games. We didn’t
get the full two points we wanted, but we kept getting
points.

“Special teams, obviously, were the
difference in the game. I thought it was an all-around solid game for
us.”

Bobrovsky played a good game,
making the stops he needed to make and controlling his rebounds. He was
visibly upset when, with three minutes to go, Ottawa scored their lone
goal on a 5-on-3 power play. He wanted the shutout. Richards
acknowledged that he played well, but thought the rest of the guys
played better in front of their goalie.

“I think
it was one of our best performances in front of Bob this season”, said
Richards. “Again, he made some timely saves when we needed him to make
the saves. He looked good and he looked square to the
shooters.”

“You could tell that he was obviously
upset with the last goal because he was there. It just found a way
through. I don’t know if it was his best game, but he was solid. I
thought the group in front of him was much better.”

Game
two of the road trip is Tuesday evening at Rexall Place as Columbus
takes on the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop for the tilt is scheduled for
9:30 p.m. (ET)

Short Shifts


Forward Marian Gaborik was placed on Injured Reserve (out four to six
weeks) due to sprained knee suffered in Thursday night’s game versus the
Boston Bruins. They also sent forward Sean Collins back to their AHL
affiliate club, the Springfield Falcons.

 •
Prior to Sunday’s game, the club recalled forward Jack Skille from
Springfield to fill one of the open roster spots as the team began their
five-game road trip. After the game, the club recalled defenseman Tim
Erixon from the Falcons. Erixon had been assigned to Springfield on
October 11. In 10 games for the Falcons, he collected 3-10-13 and had a
+/- of +4. He leads Springfield in points and
assists.