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What We Learned: STL 2, CBJ 1 (OT)

Curtis McElhinney solid with 28 saves in his first start of the season

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer / BlueJackets.com

Anderson cashes in on turnover

CBJ@STL: Anderson capitalizes on turnover in front

Josh Anderson picks up a loose puck in front that Kevin Shattenkirk passed up and buries it, putting the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 in the 2nd

  • 00:47 •

This was going to be a tough game. A different game and a different challenge.

While the emotions of Friday night were undoubtedly still a bit fresh, the Blue Jackets had to re-focus and prepare for a struggling St. Louis Blues team in their building. There were some good moments and some not-so-good moments, and on the back of Curtis McElhinney, Columbus was fortunate to leave town with a point in a 2-1 overtime loss.

But for John Tortorella, there are certain areas (and players) that just didn't cut it in this game.

In a fiery post-game media session, Tortorella praised McElhinney's performance. He thought the Blue Jackets got better as the game progressed and they pressed the Blues in the third period, but he also felt some of his top players - names not named - did not play well enough.

"A few of our top guys…they did not give enough," Tortorella said. "For this team to make the right steps to go where we want to go, we cannot see that again from some of these guys. It's just wrong."

On a positive note, Josh Anderson continued his torrid pace, opening the scoring with his team-leading fifth goal of the season and third in the last two games. His play is one of the reasons why the Blue Jackets can roll out a balanced four-line attack, with four lines that can generate offense.

Here's what we learned tonight:

1. Stick taps for Mac: McElhinney watched Sergei Bobrovsky make the first nine starts of this season, he waited for his opportunity, and put his best foot forward when his name was called tonight. It's hard to ask for much more than that, especially on the second night of a back-to-back against a dangerous team. McElhinney made 28 saves - the highlight was a lunging left pad save on Jori Lehtera in overtime - and pulled his weight to get the Blue Jackets into overtime.

Video: CBJ@STL: McElhinney stretches for outstanding OT stop

"Our goalie got us a point tonight," Seth Jones said.

"He's been sitting there for the last few weeks waiting for a start, and we put him in this situation," Tortorella said. "How could you not play for him?"

2. Killin' time: We've touched on the Blue Jackets' penalty kill several times since the season began, and almost every time, it's been praise. Same story tonight in St. Louis: holding firm in shooting lanes, taking away time and space, and when given the opportunity to send the puck 200 feet down the ice, take advantage. Often times the fundamentals are key to special teams, and the Blue Jackets have shown they are exceptional in that regard; they stay in position, keep their structure and make calculated attempts to create pressure and, eventually, turnovers. They've also had a remarkable number of shorthanded opportunities, but as Tortorella said Friday morning, "we can't score a damn goal." Through 10 games, the penalty kill is a big reason why the Blue Jackets are 5-3-2 - their 90.6% success rate is third-best in the NHL.

3. Captain leads the way: Not only is Nick Foligno leading the Blue Jackets in scoring (in addition to being their leader in the locker room), but he stepped up in another way tonight. Just as he did Tuesday night against Dallas, Foligno sensed his team's energy level sagging and took it upon himself to change that. After Alexander Wennberg took a hard hit along the boards, Foligno challenged Ryan Reaves and the two scrapped at center ice. Obviously, it's not ideal to see your captain and leading scorer dropping the gloves, but that's what you get when Foligno is on his game - which has certainly been the case so far.  

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