Nick Foligno said the Blue Jackets "absolutely" had to work for this one, and that happens to be absolutely correct.
BLUE JACKETS 1 | LIGHTNING 0
Yes, they didn't have their legs going in the first period and were out-shot 10-4 by a Lightning team that has now lost five straight road games, but their response in the second period is what really got them going.
They came out flying in the middle frame and threw everything toward the net, and used their forecheck to pressure Tampa's defense into turnovers and misplays that kept shifts alive in the offensive zone.
Foligno said it was as well as the Blue Jackets had stuck to their game plan all season long, and it was even more impressive and timely after they were dealt some adversity early in the third period.
Bobrovsky's injury - a leg injury, according to coach Todd Richards - forced McElhinney right into the fire of a 1-0 game that meant a heckuva lot to the Blue Jackets.
McElhinney made the stops he needed to and the Blue Jackets defended soundly, escaping a nail-biting finish to pick up their 11th victory of the season.
They weathered a furious late push from the Lightning and had to kill a late penalty, and in fact, the Blue Jackets' penalty kil held Tampa to just two shots on two power plays.
Stout work by Columbus while shorthanded.
Here are some random thoughts, notes and observations...
- Dubinsky's addition was referred to as "huge" by some and "a big piece" by Richards, and his energy both on and off the ice was apparent tonight.
Richards said Dubinsky's voice was heard loud and clear prior to the game and between periods, and on the ice, he played 17:24 between Calvert and Comeau.
- Speaking of Comeau, he was credited with 11 hits on the night which is a new Blue Jackets franchise record.
Dubinsky credited Comeau with wearing down Tampa's defensemen as the game went on, and that line in particular was feverish on the forecheck.
- The Blue Jackets are now 3-1-1 in their last five home games and 6-4-3 in their last 13 games overall.
- Time to update this stat once more: Columbus is now 34-0-0 under Richards when leading after 40 minutes.
- Johansen's assist on the Foligno goal, a great play to strip the defenseman of the puck and quickly find Foligno in front of the net, was his 20th point of the season to boost his overall team lead in that regard.
He's up to 10G, 10A in 28 games.