This was one of those games where a good vibe was building early.
Players who needed to see the puck start going in the net saw just that. The goaltender, starting both ends of a back-to-back for the second time already, was stellar once again and the Blue Jackets' special teams made a difference.
Winning 4-0 over a tough Anaheim Ducks team is a solid win. Doing so the way the Blue Jackets did it tonight was encouraging as they head back home for a busy month of November that will be spent largely at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus went 2-1-1 on this four-game trip that began last weekend in Dallas and, less than a week later, concluded with consecutive games against San Jose and Anaheim. There are no easy games in the NHL these days, but it's tough to find a more challenging four-game swing early in the season than what the Blue Jackets just completed.
Here's what we learned in Game 7:
1. Welcome, Sam: Sam Gagner finally broke through with his first (and second) goal as a Blue Jacket and played a key role in this game. Gagner sat out a game but has come back in the lineup and done his part, and Tortorella said his play has been steady for a few games now. "Sam's been a pretty good player for us," he said. "Tonight, he got rewarded."
Said Gagner: "I felt like my game's been coming. It felt good to score a couple."
Video: CBJ@ANA: Gagner bags his second goal off a rebound
2. Carrying the mail: Entering tonight's game, Sergei Bobrovsky was one of three NHL goaltenders (Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot the others) to start all of his team's games. There was some speculation that Curtis McElhinney would get the start tonight, but Tortorella tabbed Bobrovsky to go back-to-back for the second time in a week and Bob came through. He made 35 saves for his second shutout of the season (second in four starts), going 2-1-1 on the trip with a 1.25 goals-against average and a staggering .960 save percentage. When the goalie's playing like this, the Blue Jackets have a chance every night.
"Bob had a hell of a game," said Alexander Wennberg, who had two assists in the Blue Jackets' four-goal first period.
"We didn't get the right result in LA, but we played hard and we were there," said Bobrovsky. "Today it's great to have those two points. (The shutout) is a big credit to the guys, how they execute in the d-zone and how hard they play."
3. Saadisfying effort: Mentioned at the outset, the Blue Jackets have been waiting for some of their veteran players to start filling the net. Brandon Saad's two goals in this game were equal parts timely and skillful; the first was a wicked shot off the rush to make it a 2-0 lead only 20 seconds after Gagner opened the scoring. His second goal was also the product of a well-executed rush, capitalizing on his own rebound to chip it past John Gibson for a 3-0 lead.
He scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday in Los Angeles and it would seem as though the chances he's created are starting to find the net. That's a good sign for Saad and the Blue Jackets.
"Once (skilled players like Saad) score a couple, they loosen up and allow themselves to play," Tortorella said. "I thought he was good in all areas tonight."