Blue Jackets’ line starting to build chemistry
COLUMBUS — Friday morning, after the team had come off the ice from practice, forward Jack Skille said that they had to come out and work, playing Blue Jackets hockey to beat a young and fast Calgary Flames club.
Well, play hard and fast they did, putting up three goals for their third win in four games to start the season. It wasn’t without moments of "oh no" running through the 15,987 in attendance. Taking your foot off the gas will produce moments like that.
But a "hot" line for the team was Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu and Jack Skille. They combined for 2-3-5 and a +/- of +5 against the Flames.
"Calvey (Matt Calvert) and Mark (Letestu) are really smart players", said Skille who went 1-0-1, +2 on the night. "Like I told you earlier today, they’re easy and simple to predict the play when you’re playing with guys like that."
Matt Calvert (1-1-2,+1) seemed to have found another gear Friday night, as he got his wheels turning and playing his normal north/south and buzzing kind of game. He expanded on how Skille described the success of their line.
"Me and Skille," he said "are north-south wingers. We like to skate. We’re fast guys and we like to take the puck to the net. Testy is a real smart centerman and I thought he made a lot of great plays tonight. We just tried to skate for him."
Being on the same team without playing on the same line has led to a crash course in chemistry-building for the trio. It is still very much a work in progress.
"It was nice to finally get some chemistry with the line", Calvert said. "I thought we were doing a lot of good things defensively as a line. We just needed to find that extra step offensively, and I thought we brought it tonight."
Throw out any thought you might have of calling this a "checking line", as head coach Todd Richards likes to remind the media from time-to-time. Shall we call this the "Letestu Line" moving forward? For the purpose of talking about these three guys playing together, that sounds like a plan.
"We don’t have that prolific line that’s going to take care of fifty percent of our offense", said Mark Letestu (0-2-2, +2) as he described his line. "I don’t think we were ever meant to be built that way. The guys in here, we expect to chip in. Tonight was our night."
While the game itself was not the complete game that they know they are capable of playing, there is no mistaking the offensive output that the team possesses. The question is always one of which line will it come from on any given night?
Now the Blue Jackets will head north. Ottawa is their first stop on a four game road trip that will also see them play the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
They are 3-1-0 after the win over Calgary. Can they parlay that into a 3-1-0 or 2-1-1 road trip? Either of those would be acceptable results as they settle into the early part of the season.