The Blue Jackets got their road trip back on track against a team they’ve had more success against than any other this season.
The Blue Jackets defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center 5-2, putting up a three-goal third period to break a 2-2 tie in the final frame. The Jackets had a similar third period surge on Friday night against the Flyers at Nationwide Arena en route to their first third period comeback win of the season.
No comeback was needed tonight to push the Jackets to 4-1-0 against Philadelphia on the season. That was largely thanks to the work of their goaltender and one line that is firing on all cylinders.
Heading into the weekend, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards called the reunited unit of Brandon Dubinsky, Matt Calvert, and Cam Atkinson the team’s best line in back-to-back games against the Flyers and Islanders. That moniker certainly stuck in this contest, with the trio factoring in on all three third period goals (one an empty-netter).
With the Flyers bringing all kinds of pressure in the third period, one of the Jackets’ best chances came midway through the period when Calvert was robbed by Flyers goaltender Ray Emery on the door step. The Flyers seemed to be out of trouble when, in a game full of d-zone turnovers, Vincent Lecavalier made the most costly one of the night. Skating up the right wing, Lecavalier sent a no-look back-hand pass to the middle of the ice that was picked off by Dubinsky, who threw it right back down low to Atkinson for a mini 2-on-0, and Calvert wouldn’t miss a second time.
Dubinsky added the insurance with a rebound goal off a Scott Hartnell shot. Dubinsky now has goals in three straight (3-2-5), while Atkinson has five points in five games (3-2-5).
The Dubinsky line may not have had an opportunity to win the game if not for the play of Curtis McElhinney in the second period. The Flyers dominated possession throughout the night, including the third period. They had 85 shot attempts in the game compared to the Jackets 38, including a 63-23 margin after the second period. During that time, McElhinney was steady, beaten only by a Wayne Simmonds deflection and a screened rocket from Michael Del Zotto. McElhinney did a solid job against Simmonds for most of the night; Simmonds has been a thorn in the Jackets’ side all season, and had his share of chances in tight to the goal mouth once again tonight, but McElhinney battled and kept the Jackets in it.
There seems to be a steady formula for the Blue Jackets power play - when in doubt, give it to James Wisniewski. The Blue Jackets’ defenseman opened the scoring for Columbus 4:51 into the first period, sneaking down from his point position to the tops of the circles as he has done so often on the power play this season. Wisniewski has scored six of his seven goals this season with the man-advantage.
The Blue Jackets finished on their only power play of the game, only their second power play goal in their last 25 opportunities. That other tally, of course, was off the stick of Wisniewski.