Starting the same goaltender on back-to-back nights is often viewed as a risky proposition.
It was no big deal for Sergei Bobrovsky this weekend.
He was the Blue Jackets' best player when they needed him to be, recording his first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
From start to finish, Bobrovsky was rock solid in his 100th win as a Blue Jacket: standing tall while shorthanded, when there were breakdowns, and to keep his team in the lead once they gave it to him.
But as John Tortorella was quick to point out after the game, this was a team win for Columbus in which everyone played a role.
"Bob played good, but we were in total control of that game," Tortorella said. "The last two games, we've given up 13 chances each game - we want to be at 13 or under. He (Bobrovsky) just looks solid. There will be nights when Bob has to steal games, but tonight, you have to give everyone credit. It was a team win."
Here's the latest edition of What We Learned:
1. Special teams step up: We discussed the Blue Jackets' power play last night, which came into this game at a 57 percent success rate. But what we haven't spoken as much about is the penalty kill, and it was tested tonight. Columbus went 5-for-5 while shorthanded and upped its PK% to 93.8 - currently fifth-best in the NHL in the early going. Credit assistant coach Brad Shaw for a few tweaks to the team's penalty-killing systems, but the players have executed and made smart reads to disrupt offensive flow. Here's Scott Hartnell on the PK mentality: "Bob did the job…it starts with him in net. Our defense blocked some big shots, our forwards did a great job up the ice disrupting their breakouts. Coach Shaw has instilled in our mindset to get (the puck) down 200 feet. We didn't start the season the way we wanted, but we're back to .500 and right in the mix of things.
2. Young team passes first test: Every game is its own test, of course, but a back-to-back is a different animal and Tortorella was looking forward to this game to see how his younger players managed the situation. So far, so good; Josh Anderson got his second goal of the season, which stood up as the game winner. Zach Werenski recorded another assist to extend his points streak to four games to begin the season (a franchise record for a rookie defenseman). Lukas Sedlak played a solid game in all situations and gave Tortorella the ability to roll four lines throughout the game. Here's the coach's take: "This is the next lesson now: we win our first road game, we feel good about it. But let's keep it at a flat line now, as far as how you handle yourself these next two days. Don't get too low when you lose, don't get too high when you win. We've got a tough trip here."
3. [CTRL + V] Bob: The guy has been everything the Blue Jackets need him to be and more, and while we're only four games into the season, he is a big reason why the team is 2-2-0 and heading to California with positive vibes after two consecutive wins over quality opponents. Some might say he stumbled on opening night, but in reality, he was responsible for the game being within reach as long as it was. His numbers reflect the spectacular form he's on right now: 2-2-0 in four starts, 2.28 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. He likes where the Blue Jackets are headed: "We're coming together. We all play together, we're all on the same page and we (have) each other's back."