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Aftermath: Freeze the B’s

by Brian McCormack / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets got their road trip started on the right foot.

They put an end to two different streaks, while Ryan Johansen extended one of his own in Columbus’ 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

The Jackets, losers of four straight coming into tonight’s game, stayed with the Bruins for 60 minutes, a team coming off five straight wins before Saturday. The Jackets were able to channel some of last night’s hard work into another close game and this time were rewarded, while a couple of individuals were rewarded for their hard work as well.

You could feel it coming for the last few games. Cam Atkinson had several good opportunities against the Rangers but just couldn’t score, and Matt Calvert has had an extra jump in his step for the last several games. Both players came through and ended lengthy point droughts, and in the process, put the Jackets ahead late.

With Brandon Dubinsky able to enter the Bruins zone 1-on-4, Atkinson set himself up near the top of the left circle. Dubinsky swung the puck in front and found Atkinson, who had the patience to out-wait Adam McQuaid and step around the sliding block to fire the puck on goal. The puck squeezed through Tuukka Rask and laid in the crease where, at 16:57 of the third period, Calvert pounced and buried to put the Jackets in front.

It was Calvert’s first point inssix games and his first goal in nine games, the last meeting with Boston.

As great an impact as Calvert and Atkinson had, the star of the game wa undoubtedly Curtis McElhinney. McElhinney stopped 34 shots to earn his third straight win and second straight against the Bruins. McElhinney has a combined save percentage of .932 in his last three starts and made some big saves in this one.

McElhinney came up huge in the third period making two lateral saves to stop Loui Eriksson and rob Chris Kelly. McElhinney also stopped a Chara shot off the mask, of which he said, “it felt good because it didn’t go in.”

“I felt very comfortable in terms of seeing the puck and being able to respond to rebounds,” he added. His 14 saves in the third period kept the Jackets alive for Calvert to finish the job.

Make it 13 straight games with a point for Johansen, who wasted no time in this one to extend the longest points streak in the NHL this season and the longest in Blue Jackets history. Johansen snapped a power play wrister over Rask’s shoulder just 7:57 into the game to give Columbus the early lead.

Johansen now has eight goals and 16 points in 13 games, including three multi-point games and four power play goals. Johansen’s eight goals have all come in the past nine games. With several different line mates over that stretch, Johansen has taken charge of the offense in recent weeks.

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