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.

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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.