The Columbus Blue Jackets emerged victorious by a score of 3-2 after facing off against the Colorado Avalanche. The Blue Jackets finally came into a game with some rest and were able to take it to the Avalanche throughout the game at even strength. Needing a couple of bounces at the end of it, were the Jackets good or just a bit lucky?
Good, Better, Best
Good: Boone Jenner
The beginning of this season has not been kind for Boone Jenner. Only last year he had 30 goals on the season and was thought of as an offensive leader going into this year. The Jackets haven’t seen that production from the former Oshawa General, his goal tonight though may get him off the struggle bus.
This is one greasy goal and it is a Boone Jenner special. Cam Atkinson’s brilliant pass put the puck in the perfect spot and Jenner was able to slam it home with ease. It won’t always come that easy for him moving forward, if he continues to go to the tough areas, the puck will surely find that stick more often. He is an asset the Jackets will need down the stretch.
Better: Brandon Saad
While Jenner is in a bit of a slump, nobody is scoring like Brandon Saad right now. The Pittsburgh native had two points on the evening, one goal and one assist. Not to mention an even strength CF% of 59. Last year fans got a sneak peek into just how good he can be, this time around he has taken it to a completely different level. It definitely helps to be on a line with Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg but he is carrying his weight, this isn’t an instance in which he is just along for the ride.
We gave our official endorsement to Foligno and Sergei Bobrovsky, we wouldn’t mind if Saad got some votes on the side too. He has been good enough to warrant a selection, fans be damned.
Best: Jack Johnson and David Savard
After getting plenty of scorn here on the site, the best players out on the ice tonight were Jack Johnson and David Savard. They have improved their game immensely and may be the biggest beneficiaries from a Brad Shaw hire. They have tightened up a lot of their play in the neutral zone and because of it they are beginning to see dividends in their underlying metrics. Johnson’s even strength CF% was 68 and Savard’s was 70%. These aren’t just great numbers, these are numbers that they have not ever put up consistently. They have had one of the sharpest improvements this year and it is in no small part to their new found aggressiveness.
If Brad Shaw can turn around this once moribund defensive corps into a reputable group of defenders, the man won’t just deserve a raise, he’ll need a key to the city.