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Aftermath No. 24: Toronto

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said after Monday's win over the Maple Leafs that, before too long, his team is going to reach a point where it needs to "get it."

Their up-and-down, roller coaster road trip through Canada concluded with a 6-0 walloping of the Leafs at Air Canada Centre that was as impressive as it was efficient; the Blue Jackets needed just 22 shots to get six past red-hot goalie James Reimer, and at the other end, Sergei Bobrovsky needed only 18 saves to record his first shutout of the season (his fifth as a Blue Jacket). 

It started just over a week ago with a 4-1 win in Ottawa, continued to snowy Edmonton in a game that everyone would just as soon forget, then a 2-1 overtime win in Calgary.

They were 2-2-0 on the trip heading into Friday night's game in Vancouver which didn't go their way...but many players spoke Monday morning about the opportunity - despite several regulars being out of the lineup - to head back to Columbus with a 3-2-0 mark on the trip, and good vibes as they begin a home-heavy stretch into December.

Nick Foligno said it was a "total team effort" with "everyone chipping in," and that's exactly how it had to be for the Blue Jackets against the offensively-potent Leafs.

They played a patient game in the neutral zone, stayed out of the penalty box and forced Toronto come the length of the ice to generate offense. 

Here are some random thoughts, notes and observations...

- Ryan Johansen, the game's No. 1 star, stepped up in the absence of some of the Blue Jackets' top forwards and helped them toward their largest offensive outburst of the season. He scored twice, added an assist, fired five shots on goal and won 9-of-18 face-offs.

He leads the team in goal scoring with eight, and is second in points (16).

- Having Wisniewski back in the lineup was a big boost for the Blue Jackets, who dressed seven defensemen (kind of) and were able to get back to their regular defense pairings.

Richards put Ryan Murray back with Wisniewski and they were the steady pairing they've been all season long, logging a lot of ice time 5-on-5 and playing a chunk of the game against Toronto's top six.

- Nothing flashy for Bobrovsky (copy and paste from his last win), but he held the fort and watched his teammates go to work in the other end. He made some really nice stops - a point-blank stop on James van Riemsdyk comes to mind - in the first period when the Leafs pushed back after Columbus' two quick tallies. 

- The Blue Jackets won 54 percent of the face-offs in their win over the Leafs, and at 52.1 percent overall, own the NHL's eighth-best win percent on the draw.

- Columbus' best face-off man in Toronto? That would be Michael Chaput, who went 8-of-12 (67 percent).

- The Blue Jackets had 14 players with a "plus" rating and 14 players also recorded at least one shot on goal. Wisniewski and Murray were each +3 on the night and as a team, Columbus was a cumulative +20.  

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