Victory over New Jersey showed Blue Jackets' grit

BY foxsports • December 11, 2013

The Blue Jackets are showing more and more flashes of having the
mentality of the team that went on a 19-5-5 run over the last 29 games
last year. They are getting back to playing the game the way that works
for them. Resiliency and never quitting has to be their mantra going
forward.

They showed those traits in the 5-4 win
over the visiting New Jersey Devils. They shot pucks at the net and got
into the dirty area around the goal. They never gave up, clawing their
way back for the victory. This is what they had to do when facing future
Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur.

"I didn't
think we had a great start," said Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky,
"I didn't think our legs were moving. I think we were a little bit
tired and it showed. But we found a way to get a big win against a
division rival. That's the most important thing."

The
line of Cam Atkinson/Dubinsky/Matt Calvert had nine points on
the night, with Atkinson (2-2-4, +2) and Dubinsky (1-3-4, +3) both
notching their first four-point games. This line
combined for 4-5-9, +6 on the night.

"It's nice
to get rewarded," Atkinson said. "The line was going and it feels good to get the win."


Atkinson understands how special it was to face the future Hall of
Famer in the opposite net.

"You can't really score too many goals on
him, but when you get those opportunities, you try to bear down," he said. "We were
just trying to get pucks at his feet. I think that's the only thing you
could have done against him. He's a Hall of
fame goalie. Just to get one on him is pretty special. I
should have kept the pucks."

It was a sloppy
game, with the hometown team getting off to sluggish start. While they
didn't put up a ton of shots on goal, the ones they did shoot were more
of the "quality" variety. Accurate shots to the net created the chances
they capitalized on.

"In the first period, we
didn't have too many forwards going or too many defensemen going," said
Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "We weren't focused (at the start of
the game). At the start of the second period, too, we weren't focused.
It could have been fatigue. When you're tired, the mind usually isn't
working."

Richards addressed the play of
Dubinsky one night removed from getting tossed from the Pittsburgh game.
"I saw Brandon play hard. To me, I've seen that in most of the games
that he's played. I don't know if that was a motivation from last night.
I have no idea."

"You never complain about
wins and never apologize for wins. We found ways
to win games. The previous two before the Pittsburgh game, we
played some pretty good hockey. Even in Pittsburgh, with the 2-1 loss,
we did a lot of good things. (Against New Jersey) it was sloppy. It was
ugly. I think we baited them into playing that ugly game, a mistake
game.

"You've got to find ways to win games.
And, we found a way to win this game. We found a way to score one more
goal than they did."

For a young team, these are
the bricks upon which a contender is built. Take these lessons and put
them into the collective psyche of the team. Do not forget them. Only
then will they become consistent. The guys in the room want to win. And,
the fans in Ohio deserve a winning team.


Short Shifts

• Center
Ryan Johansen has a career-high six-game (2-6-8) point streak going. In
31 games, he leads the team in points, going 10-14-24, with a
+/- of -4. Against the Devils, he went 69.2 percent in the faceoff
circle. He's rapidly maturing into one of the better players on this
club.

• The Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate
team, the Springfield Falcons, extended their affiliation through the
2014-2015 season. "Our affiliation with the Springfield Falcons has been
very successful and we are excited to extend our relationship with
Springfield", said Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager Chris
MacFarland. AGM MacFarland oversees hockey operations for the club's
affiliates. "The Falcons organization, from Charles Pompea and Bruce
Landon to the coaching staff led by Brad Larsen, has provided our young
players with a great environment in which to develop and have
success."

• The Blue Jackets return to action in
New York on Thursday as they take on the Rangers at Madison Square
Garden. Game time is 7pm.

• Columbus sits just three
points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division, the third and
final guaranteed playoff berth. They have a game in hand on both the
Carolina Hurricanes (3rd place, 32 points) and the New York Rangers (4th
place, 31 points).


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