Redemption comes with game-winning goal for Savard
When you're having a bad day, you can always count on your friends and family to encourage you to get through whatever may be causing it. They believe in you.
It has been said here many times that this Blue Jackets team is a family. The players, the coaches and the front office staff have said it, too. They have a bond that runs deep through their many shared experiences.
Sunday night in Denver, defenseman David Savard had a bad night on the ice. It was arguably his worst game of the season. But his surrogate family, the teammates he shares the Blue Jackets uniform with, never wavered in their support of him.
"It wasn't my best game," Savard said after the dust had settled on their 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. "But, everybody was positive and everybody was behind me. I've just got to keep it going and have a better game next game."
It started almost as soon as the puck was dropped to begin the game. As the Blue Jackets were setting up to clear their zone, Savard attempted a cross-ice pass without seeing Colorado's Jerome Iginla coming across the blue line. He intercepted the pass and a moment later the puck was past goalie Curtis McElhinney and in the back of the net, 30 seconds into the game.
This is almost a nightmare occurrence for a defenseman and would deflate most any player. But Savard's hockey family rallied around him, helping to prop him up and fight through it.
"I think everybody was positive," said Savard. "Those kinds of mistakes happen. Everybody stayed focused and was good about it. Obviously, it's not a great play and it's not fun to do."
While his teammates were keeping him focused by staying positive, Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards showed Savard that he still had trust in him. Savard led the team with 23:38 time on ice and saw time on both the power play and penalty kill units. He had three hits of the team's 25 and took three shots on goal.
Savard was a factor in all three Colorado goals before finding redemption with 1:01 to go in the third period with the game tied at 3-3. After Scott Hartnell skated the puck into the offensive zone, and as he was falling to the ice after being checked along the boards, he passed the puck to Nick Foligno.
Foligno saw that Savard was open at the top of the zone and made the pass, setting up the game-winning goal. After having bad luck and bad bounces plague him for 59 minutes, Savard and the team were recipients of some puck luck and a fortuitous bounce off Colorado's Borna Rendulic as the puck went into the net.
"Anytime you see a guy that has a couple of unfortunate plays like that," said McElhinney, "it's nice to him get rewarded at the end of it. It was nice to see it come full-circle for him."
For David Savard, knowing his teammates were there to help him must have had a profound effect. One can almost imagine the words of Joe Cocker softly floating through the vast synapses of his mind after the game.
"Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends..."
The victory in Denver brings the team back to .500 on the season, with a record of 17-17-3 for 37 points and fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. They sit 10 points behind the third place Washington Capitals. They are eight points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and 9 points behind the New York Rangers in the race for a wild-card playoff position.
The Blue Jackets have Monday off and are in Dallas as they prepare for Tuesday night's tilt with the Stars.