Columbus ran its point streak to five and its win streak to two with a 5-3 victory over Detroit at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night.
Game in a Paragraph
The Blue Jackets dominated possession but still needed a full 60-minute effort to pull out the win. It was a 2-2 game after one period and tied at 3 after two despite the fact Columbus had a 27-10 edge in shots on goal the first two periods. But the Blue Jackets tallied early in the third and former Red Wings forward Gus Nyquist earned the empty-netter to clinch it.
Video: CBJ@DET: Bjorkstrand buries Nyquist's terrific pass
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "Throughout most of the game, I thought we played well. Our defense was good. I thought our play away from the puck, not giving up odd-man rushes, our play away from the puck was pretty consistent tonight."
- Kevin Stenlund scored his first-ever NHL goal in his second game of the season and the fifth of his career.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 10th goal of the year and his third goal in two nights.
- Cam Atkinson scored his fifth goal in the past seven games and added an assist.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois also had a goal and an assist for his fourth multipoint game of the year and second in his last three games. He broke a tie with Bjorkstrand for the team lead with 11 tallies.
After a slow start both ways, Detroit got on the board 5:11 into the game as Adam Erne scored his first of the year in 28 games with the Wings. He worked a give-and-go at the top of the slot with Frans Nielsen, one-timing Nielsen's return pass past the glove of Joonas Korpisalo from the right circle.
Columbus got it back at 11:02, making it a 1-1 game while holding a 6-on-5 advantage because of a delayed penalty. The Wings tried to make a change and got caught, as Dubois found Atkinson streaking to the net and the latter's tip flew over the glove of Jonathan Bernier and under the bar.
Just 1:04 later, the Blue Jackets made it 2-1 on a beautiful goal. Gus Nyquist and Oliver Bjorkstrand worked a nice give-and-go after a Wings' turnover, with Nyquist's spinning pass finding Bjorkstrand alone in front before The Maestro finished past Bernier's glove with a quick shot.
Detroit didn't have a shot on goal for more than 12 minutes after Erne's goal, but their next shot on goal was another tally -- and another off the stick of Erne. Luke Glendening touched Madison Bowey's shot from the right point over to Erne at the side of the cage for a quick finish past Korpisalo.
The Wings then made it 3-2 on the power play 1:58 into the second, taking their second lead of the game. It was a power-play goal, as Filip Hronek's shot from the center point deflected twice past Korpisalo. The final deflection went off Tyler Bertuzzi in front, giving him 12 goals on the season and three vs. the CBJ.
Columbus replied with its own power-play goal at 6:54, as Stenlund netted his first. Atkinson's feed across the zone to Stenlund in the left circle allowed him to approach the net, and he tried to center it only to see it deflect off defenseman Trevor Daley and under Bernier for the goal.
Video: CBJ@DET: Stenlund scores first NHL goal
Detroit's Erne could have got his hat trick midway through the second were it not for some frantic defending by Korpisalo and David Savard. Erne got the puck in front and tried to work it around Korpisalo, but the goalie slammed his stick down to thwart the initial threat, then Savard followed up and whacked the puck out of the crease and off Korpisalo multiple times before finally clearing it.
The Blue Jackets survived that though and got into the third period with the score knotted 3-3, then Dubois needed just 1:19 to give Columbus the lead. He came into the zone on the rush, had some space at the top of the left circle, and unloaded a snipe off the far post and in past Bernier's glove.
The Wings' best chances to tie hit the post down the stretch. With about five minutes to go, Boone Jenner was caught without a stick and Anthony Mantha had a good look at the net from the top of the left circle, but his shot hit the far post and caromed away harmlessly. With less than two minutes to play, Robby Fabbri also dinged the iron from in front on the rush.
From there, Nyquist completed a successful return to the Motor City as he stuffed home an empty-net goal with 6.4 seconds to go.
1. A number of times this year, the Blue Jackets left a game saying they felt they played good enough to win but lost. This felt like it could be trending the same direction considering Columbus had the puck for pretty much the entirety of the first two periods and still was tied at 3 going to the third. It was anyone's game at that point, but Dubois got the goal early in the third and Columbus was able to finish it off from there. It wasn't always pretty down the stretch, but in the end, the Blue Jackets got a deserved win and got all four points from its back-to-back. When asked if it feels like momentum has finally turned for Columbus, Bjorkstrand said. "That's what I'm hoping for. We just have to keep going and get the luck on our side."
2. But forget about things like momentum and luck for a second. At some point, if the Blue Jackets are going to get back into playoff contention, it comes down to performing, as well. Through the early stretches of the season, some of the team's biggest names were struggling to get on the score sheet, but that wasn't the case tonight. Nyquist, Bjorkstrand, Dubois and Atkinson all had 1-1-2 lines, while Seth Jones also had a two-assist night. Those are the guys who have to score, and they're starting to much more consistently. "That's a positive thing," Bjorkstrand said. "That's what we're looking for. Guys who get a lot of chances, you have to get a few goals in."
3. Oddly enough, the five-game point streak has come as the Blue Jackets have battled injuries as well. The team thought it got some relief tonight as Zach Werenski returned from the shoulder injury he suffered two-and-a-half weeks ago, but then rookie defenseman Andrew Peeke appeared to suffer a broken hand and Alexander Wennberg also left after taking a stick to the face in the third. It's a tough run of luck, but some players are stepping up, like Stenlund, who got his first tally. "We just don't spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about the injuries," Tortorella said. "It just gives other guys more opportunities in situations that maybe they wouldn't be put in."
Columbus has won 10 of the last 11 against the Wings and is 9-0-1 in the last 10 in the Motor City. ... Columbus won for the first time this year when giving up the opening goal, improving to 1-10-5 when falling behind 1-0. … Dubois (6-3-9) and Jones (3-6-9) each have six-game point streaks against Detroit. ... Alexandre Texier earned an assist on Dubois' goal to give him a 2-4-6 line in the last six games. … Nyquist played his first game as an opponent in Detroit after spending seven-plus seasons with the Wings before being traded at the deadline a season ago. … Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Larsen missed the game to attend to a family matter.
With Werenski's return from a shoulder injury, Scott Harrington was a healthy scratch after playing Monday, while winger Sonny Milano (upper body) and defenseman Ryan Murray (lower body) remained out.
The Blue Jackets are back at it Thursday night at Nationwide Arena for the first meeting of the season with Los Angeles.