After two straight losses, many were asking themselves if this was the beginning of the end or if these were the same old Blue Jackets. When the team faced off against the Capitals, they plainly didn’t show up and were suffocated defensively on top of it all. Then, they were lackadaisical when trying to finish off the Rangers. When the Flyers tied the game up in the waning seconds of the third period, it seemed like this was another collapse coming. What happened to make the game something completely different?
Good, Better, Best
Good: Jenner, Dubinsky and Atkinson line
For everything that Cam Atkinson has done this year offensively, a vast majority of it has been done away from this line. Both Dubinsky and Jenner have been having down years, if you were told that these two would be having the seasons they are currently having, you would think that the team would be a basement dweller. Last night was a rare night where every player seemed to be on target. Jenner had five shots on goal in the game and looked noticeably more active on the offensive end of the ice. Each player on this line also had above a 59% even strength CF, one of the few times this year that they have been a net positive in shot differential. Whether their usage will change over the next set of games may determine how the team does overall, they need these players to be impactful and so far only one of them has been.
Better: Nick Foligno
Last night was one of the worst shot differential games for Foligno this season. He has been great on both ends of the ice this year, it is amazing to see how he can still make an impact even when he has an off game. All of the cliches tied to being a captain are annoying, but Foligno scoring the overtime goal last night made me a believer if only for a second. The Jackets needed a big goal and naturally it came from the anointed leader on the team. Three straight losses wouldn’t have been terrible and it wouldn’t have ended the season right there, but it would just lend credence to the people that doubt the Jackets. Foligno came up big to silence those doubters, it was only one game but admittedly it felt like so much more.
Best: Sergei Bobrovsky
As he has done many games this year, Sergei Bobrovsky won this game for the Jackets. Despite letting in a goal with 16 seconds left in the game, he was fantastic in net all night. He made saves left and right. Early on in the game, Andrew McDonald scored a goal that was called off due to goaltender interference, it mentally could’ve been a barrier to overcome, instead he posted a .962 sv%. Bobrovsky has been one of the most valuable players on this team by a long shot, the Jackets are going where he takes them.