The Columbus Blue Jackets opened the month of November with a return to Nationwide Arena and a 3-2 win! However, the journey was not so simple for the home team. The Dallas Stars were dominant in the first period, raining shots on goal and setting up camp in the CBJ zone. Luckily for Columbus fans, the Jackets acclimated to the Stars’ attack and played a (mostly) even game the rest of the way.
The bumps didn’t end there, though. After ending forty minutes tied 1-1, the Stars jumped early in the 3rd and Tyler Seguin buried a sharp angle shot to give Dallas a lead. In the final minute, in the final 30 seconds, in the final 15 seconds, the Jackets finally found the net a second time. Sam Gagner put away the even-up goal with Bob pulled and the CBJ on a powerplay.
With the hard work out of the way, 3-on-3 overtime was a much smoother affair for Columbus. Saad, Jones, and Wennberg skated circles around the Stars, and Seth Jones put it away with a great shot.
A rollercoaster game, and now for superlatives.
The Great: Sergei Bobrovsky
In a way, Bobrovsky’s brilliant play acts as a negative remark on the rest of the Blue Jackets. The Dallas Stars outshot the home team 18-9 in the first period, and out-attempted the CBJ 27-13 in the frame (via Natural Stat Trick). The early game had all the makings of a blowout in favor of Dallas.
Fortunately for Columbus, Bob stood tall. On the night, the Jackets’ goalie let in only 2 goals on 38 shots against, good for a .947 SV%. His play in the early going was crucial in keeping the team afloat, holding the Stars’ attack at bay.
As for the CBJ skaters: that first period serves as a sign of how much further they’ll need to go. Yes, getting the points is crucial. And yes, having Bobrovsky to save the day is important. The rest of the team needs to improve in order for the Blue Jackets to be more consistently successful throughout the year.
The Also Great: The Overtime
One caveat to that “team needs to improve” bit? The overtime shift. And yes, that’s a singular shift, not a typo forgetting any others. Brandon Saad, Alex Wennberg, and Seth Jones were out to start the 3-on-3 and played great keepaway, completely outmaneuvering the Stars until Jones found the game-winner.
Not a bad away to seal up a two point night.
The Good: Foligno, Gagner, and Werenski
Yes, all three of these players picked up important points in the game. Also true: it’s hard to feel completely positive about any skaters given the dominance of the Dallas attack.
Take Nick Foligno for example. He netted the game’s first goal, a sweet shot from the slot off a wonderful Werenski feed.
Unfortunately for the Captain, he also finished with a less-than-shining 35% shot attempt percentage during 5-on-5 play (via Natural Stat Trick). Foligno spent a lot of time playing against Roussel, Oduya, and Spezza, and was 46% or lower against all three.
Sam Gagner’s play was a bit more positive all-around, picking up that game-tying goal late in the 3rd, and finished right at break-even in shot differential (one of only two forwards on the team). His performance represents more value play for the Jackets, especially on a tough night for the skaters.
The legend of Zach Werenski grows a bit more with a two assist night. However, I think we may want to pump the brakes ever-so-slightly, as Werenski finished a not-so-great 38% in on-ice 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (14 for, 23 against, again via Natural Stat Trick). Werenski seriously struggled when matched against the Klingberg pair and the Seguin/Benn line. This isn’t necessarily surprising, as those players are some of the best in the NHL. It’s just another sign that the d-man has room left to grow.
Tweet of the Night
Does it count as Messing With Texas, if it’s a Texan doing the messing?
The Blue Jackets are back in action on Friday, hosting the red-hot Montreal Canadiens.