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Aftermath: Feelin’ Fly

by Brian McCormack / Columbus Blue Jackets

The third period has been an issue for the Blue Jackets for most of this season, but tonight, they showed resiliency late in the period to tie the game. With the Jackets trailing by a goal, Brandon Dubinsky led a quick transition rush and found Scott Hartnell driving the net. Hartnell’s shot was stopped by a sprawling Ray Emery, who was outstanding throughout the night, but Cam Atkinson found the rebound and potted his fourth goal in eight games. It’s also Atkinson’s third goal over that stretch that has come in the third period, as he appears to have regained his confidence around the front of the net.

In overtime it was Anisimov, who hadn’t scored a goal since the home opener and has missed significant time due to concussion symptoms and a torn tricep. Anisimov’s winner was his first goal in 21 games.

“I think (Anisimov) has been playing good hockey, but he just hasn’t been rewarded for it,” said head coach Todd Richards. “Artie has been doing good things for us. He’s had the puck on his stick, he’s been able to make plays, and it just hasn’t been going his way as far as scoring goals. It’s nice to see it and hopefully this will be a boost of confidence for him.”

Atkinson’s goal doesn’t mean a whole lot if the Jackets’ fourth line doesn’t pull them within one. The Jackets' 2-1 deficit was extended to 3-1 after Corey Tropp collided with Emery and Wayne Simmonds scored on the ensuing power play at 5:04 of the third. Tropp and the fourth line, who were flying throughout the night in one of their best games of the season, had a response three and a half minutes later. Mark Letestu won a battle for the puck behind the net and worked it to the left-wing corner for Tropp, who zipped a pass the the back post for a Jared Boll tap-in, his first goal of the season.

“It was a huge play for that line,” said Dubinsky, who scored his first goal in nine games to get the Jackets on the board in the second period. “I was happy for (Tropp) going in there and getting one back for us. That line's done a lot of good things for us, and it’s good to see them get rewarded.”

The final shot total for the game was 33-25 in favor of the Blue Jackets, but throughout the contest the possession battle was much more lopsided than that. The Jackets outshot the Flyers 22-15 by the end of the second, with the difference being a strong Simmonds and Emery standing on his head for Philadelphia, as the Flyers defense struggled with the Jackets’ forecheck and repeatedly coughed up the puck in the middle of the ice.

One of the better examples of the Flyers’ helter-skelter night in their own end was the Jackets’ first goal. With the Flyers failing to clear the zone on several occasions, they finally seemed out of the woods when Luke Schenn sent an innocent outlet pass up the right wing boards for Matt Read. Read tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground, making the outlet pass instead a tape-to-tape turnover to Kevin Connauton. Connauton skated down the boards and whipped the puck to the front for the Dubinsky deflection.

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