Brandon Dubinsky and John Tortorella haven’t been shy about discussing their tense relationship when the two were together in New York.
Now reunited in Columbus, they’ve made it clear they’ll need each other to help turn around the Blue Jackets – and Dubinsky played a big role in helping them take the first step.
After scoring the winning goal to end the club’s awful start, Dubinsky looks to continue his success against New Jersey when the Blue Jackets visit the surging Devils on Tuesday night.
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Tortorella coached the center from 2008-12 before the Rangers dealt Dubinsky to Columbus in the Rick Nash trade. Although both remember disagreeing plenty during that period, Dubinsky credited Tortorella for helping his career when the Blue Jackets hired Tortorella to replace the fired Todd Richards on Wednesday.
Columbus lost its first eight – including Tortorella’s debut against Minnesota on Thursday – before Dubinsky scored in the third period to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win at Colorado on Saturday.
The start was the worst in the NHL since the Rangers lost their first 11 of 1943-44.
"If there’s one guy I’m familiar with, it’s him," Tortorella said of Dubinsky. "He’s just a competitor. He was huge at the end with faceoffs, blocked shots, and he played in all situations.
"I’m happy for him. He wanted to win this. He wanted to will it, and he found a way."
Dubinsky double-shifted at times after Ryan Johansen was scratched because of an illness. Dubinsky also could see his role increase against the Devils (4-3-1) with Johansen not making the trip.
"Joey just doesn’t feel well," Tortorella told the team’s official website. "He lacks energy, and so we’ll list him as day-to-day. We’re gonna leave him alone and see if we can get that straightened out. We don’t think it’s long-term."
The Blue Jackets won the final two meetings of last season 3-2 with Dubinsky scoring in both. He has five goals and seven assists in his past seven against the Devils (4-3-1), winners of four straight.
Each victory has come by one goal, with Adam Henrique’s short-handed tally in the third helping New Jersey beat Buffalo 4-3 on Saturday. Henrique also scored in the first and assisted on David Schlemko’s goal in the second.
Mike Cammalleri had a goal and two assists, giving him two and six during a four-game point streak.
"We’re on a great run, set some short-term goals for ourselves and we’ve had a great week," Henrique said. "Got that first win under our belt, we turned things around, stuck with things and really put the work in. We keep preaching that we can’t be satisfied."
Cammalleri scored his second goal in the third period of the last meeting with the Blue Jackets on March 31, and Jack Johnson scored in overtime. Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves.
Bobrovsky has a 4.45 goals-against average in seven starts but made 31 saves to get the win Saturday. He’s gone 3-1-0 with a 2.28 GAA in his last four against the Devils.
That average is identical to the mark Cory Schneider has posted during his 4-1-1 start to the season. He stopped 26 shots Saturday and has been in net for each game of New Jersey’s winning streak.
Schneider is 9-3-2 with a 2.04 GAA against Columbus, though he’s dropped his last two matchups.