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Aftermath No. 10: Toronto

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

After tonight's game, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was asked about the pivotal swing of momentum in the third period. It was the difference between the Jackets' third straight win and who knows what outcome if things hadn't unfolded how they did.

Down a goal, on the road, the red-hot Maple Leafs power play had a grade-A chance to snatch the game right back for the visitors. The Blue Jackets took a couple of penalties 61 seconds apart and it resulted in a 4-on-3 power play for a group of players that really didn't need any additional space.

Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Cody Franson and James van Riemsdyk were the four players deployed by Leafs coach Randy Carlyle to draw the game even, but the Blue Jackets pounced on a mistake and put the game away.

What a goal by Dubinsky, too - he starts the play himself when the Leafs suffered a broken stick down low, and he took off down the right wing.

Jonathan Bernier was clearly thinking "pass" by Dubinsky over to Mark Letestu on the other side, but one quick wrister top shelf was all the Jackets needed to wrap up their third consecutive victory, and in the process, pull their record to an even 5-5-0 on the year.

The penalty kill, which has given up some goals lately, did its job well tonight and kept a very good power play off the board. On the whole, the Blue Jackets (aside from that spell in the third period) were disciplined against a team that feeds off mistakes, and they managed the game appropriately. 

So far, Columbus has taken care of business on home ice. The Blue Jackets have the 8-3-0 Anaheim Ducks in town on Sunday afternoon and then head out to Pittsburgh to start a weekend home-and-home with the Penguins.

The Blue Jackets are finding their game, and it will surely be tested in the weeks ahead.

Let's talk more about tonight's game...

- First NHL goal aside, Ryan Murray played one of his best games to date and Richards said as much after the game. He's earned a spot on the power play unit and seen his minutes increase as a result. He played over 20 minutes and was the cool, calm and collected presence he's been since the start of the year.

- Bobrovsky's number was not called often tonight, especially with the Jackets' 16-5 shot advantage in the first period, but he was there when needed in the third period.

The Blue Jackets have received quality netminding from both Bobrovsky and McElhinney during this three-game streak and it's freed up the rest of the club. They're playing confident defensively and it's leading to chances at the other end. 

- The Blue Jackets won 66 percent of the face-offs against Toronto tonight. Leading the way for Columbus was Dubinsky (13-of-17, 76 percent) and also Letestu (6-of-8, 75 percent). As they did on Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets spent a lot of time with the puck tonight and it fed right into their game.

- Jared Boll had but two shifts in the third period - nine total in the game - and just 5:03 of ice time tonight. One would suspect it had something to do with the nasty bug he was battling this morning (which kept him out of the morning skate).

- Gaborik is quietly going about his business (leads the club with five goals) but Richards says there's still more to give from his star sniper. Gaborik had two shots tonight and scored on his previous two shots prior to tonight's game, but his presence makes the opposition stay alert whenever he's on the ice. He pounced on a Dave Bolland turnover to start the cycle that led to his go-ahead goal in the third period.

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