So, uh, whoa. 10-0. Ten to nothing. Double digit goals, a ten point victory! I don’t think anybody saw this coming in the slightest. The Montreal Canadiens entered tonight as the top team in the NHL standings. The one perceived chance for the Columbus Blue Jackets? Carey Price was off for the night, and Al Montoya was starting.
Instead of merely taking advantage, the Jackets blasted Montreal to pieces.
A quick start in a three goal first period is impressive, maybe even enough to win most games (or at least grab a point). A five goal second is astounding just considered in isolation. To pick up both of those periods in succession, and then add another two goals in the third period is unthinkable. And now, somehow, it’s reality.
I mean, holy crap. We are talking literal franchise history, on both sides here.
This is almost certainly the greatest regular season game in CBJ history. How do you even begin to break this down?
The Astounding: Everything
Did you look at that score?!
Okay, I guess we can pick some specifically outrageous high points.
The Outrageous: The Powerplay and Zach Werenski
With the caveat that the insane pace won’t last forever: the Columbus powerplay is setting opponents on fire right now. Tonight was especially monumental, with 4 goals on 5 opportunities.
You can point at the Montreal goalie for some blame (more on that later). You can also look to the great individual efforts from important powerplay personnel. Like on this play, for instance.
Zach Werenski is incredible right now. The Coach gave him well-deserved praise earlier this week on this website, and Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek is all-aboard the hype train. Werenski’s powerplay responsibility is yet another example of the young d-man changing the Columbus blueline. The vision, the quality of the feed, the poise: it’s all outstanding.
Coach Tortorella praised Werenski’s contribution to team transition play in the post-game press conference as shared on on Fox Sports Ohio. “There’s one play… where Werenski, he surprises them [Montreal]. He’s skating forward as they’re coming at him, and just closes the gap right there. … Defensemen don’t always have to skate backwards, they can set their gap by skating forwards and assuming the rush.”
(You can watch the press conference here, the transition and Werenski remarks starting around the 4:50 mark.)
Of course, Werenski’s passing doesn’t turn into goal without the correct forward in position to bury the puck, and Nick Foligno played his part, especially in the gif above.
Oh, and Cam Atkinson also had a two-goal night on the powerplay. Yes he Cam still drill a fantastic snipe.
The Just Silly: 16 Blue Jackets Skaters Had a Point
Tonight’s game was not a one-man operation. Almost every CBJ player came away with their name on the score-sheet. Heck, five of the six Blue Jackets d-men had points. Even Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky each found an assist, a nice reward after a slow start to the year for those forwards.
The Also Bananas: 8 Players With a Multi-Point Game
Anderson, Aktinson, Foligno, Hartnell, Jones, Karlsson, Wennberg, and Werenski all had two or more points. Seriously.
But to take another look at one of those players…
The Excellent: Alex Wennberg
In a night full of amazing work, Alex Wennberg had the team-high in points with four assists. This was only the 30th time in franchise history a player had a 4 point game, and only the eighth 4+ assist night ever for a Blue Jacket (via Hockey-Reference). That’s no small feat, and three of those points came alongside a Foligno contribution (2 Foligno goals, 1 assist). Wennberg-Foligno chemistry is a wonderful development so far this year.
The Best Non-Scoring Player: Sergei Bobrovsky
A Columbus franchise-best offensive outburst will dominate the headlines, and I think that’s fair. Also worth celebrating: Sergei Bobrovsky continued his dominant start to the season. Montreal managed to put 30 shots on goal, and Bob turned them all aside.
Of his 9 starts this year, Bobrovsky has a .929 SV% or better in seven, and has now picked up 3 shutouts on the season.
Tweets of the Night
That powerplay is something, eh?
Finally: I do feel bad for Al Montoya. Things were rough early, snowballed quickly, and finished in dismal fashion. Montoya’s final save percentage was an ugly .750, and ESPN’s Stats & Info summarized the game in stark fashion.
The Blue Jackets don’t get much time to enjoy the record victory: Columbus travels to St. Louis to face the Blues tomorrow night.