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Aftermath No. 4: Boston

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

The start was okay, the middle could have been better and the ending wasn't what they desired, but the Blue Jackets didn't play a poor hockey game today against the Boston Bruins.

Earlier this week, the players and coaches called this game a "measuring stick," a game they could use to see exactly where they stand after two road victories last week. It certainly was, and the defending Eastern Conference champs were game for a physical affair this afternoon at Nationwide Arena.

This was a black-and-blue game all around; the teams combined for 57 hits, 31 blocked shots and an immeasurable amount of snarl - exactly the kind of game both teams like to play. 

Columbus got the start it wanted, too: the Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a nice-looking power play goal and had something going for the first 35 minutes of the game. Chris Kelly's goal really energized the Bruins, who seemed to be looking for something to get them into the game.

Loui Eriksson's go-ahead goal was another hurdle for the Blue Jackets, who couldn't get much consistency in the offensive zone the rest of the way. They had chances, yes, but a lot of "one and dones" in the Boston zone didn't help them. 

Before we call it a day, let's break down the game...

- Another encouraging performance from the Blue Jackets' top unit; Gaborik was dangerous and led the team with five shots on goal. Dubinsky was his usual sturdy self in the middle, logging nearly 22 minutes and winning 63 percent of his face-offs. Atkinson fired three shots on goal and saved a goal with a heads-up play in his own crease. With his first-period assist, Gaborik now has 2-4-6 in the Jackets' first four games. 

- With each passing game, rookie defenseman Ryan Murray seems to take another step forward. He played 15:57 today against the Bruins, blocked four shots (he leads the Jackets with 10 on the year) and did a nice job of skating the puck out of trouble. 

- Two thirds of the Foligno-Johansen-Umberger trio (the latter two) combined for a -5 rating this afternoon and got caught out for some long shifts against the Bruins' top line. Johansen had an uncharacteristically subpar day in the circle, winning just six of 12 draws (33 percent).  

- The Blue Jackets need to find a way to get Artem Anisimov going. The combinations just don't seem to working at the moment, and while he's not playing poorly by any means, they need some offense from No. 42 in the middle if they're going to be successful. Anisimov has just one point (a goal) registered on opening night vs. Calgary. 

- One bright spot today was Sergei Bobrovsky, who was under siege on several occasions. He made 15 saves in the second period alone and finished the game with 35 stops, and was once again a rock for the Blue Jackets in goal. His numbers through four games: 2-2-0, 2.21 GAA and .926 save percentage. 

- Blake Comeau left today's game in the second period with a cut above his ankle, Todd Richards said. He will be reevaluated on Monday.

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