The Blue Jackets rallied for their season-best third win in a row, capturing a 5-4 victory vs. Detroit at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night.
Game in a Paragraph
Columbus had a huge edge in shot attempts and possession from the opening faceoff and led twice in the first two frames, yet Detroit held a 3-2 advantage after two periods thanks to two goals in short order late in the second. But Columbus rallied in the third and scored twice in a 63-second span to take the lead and added an insurance goal to finish off the Wings.
Video: Atkinson, Bjorkstrand lead Blue Jackets to 5-4 win
Quote of the Night
Head coach John Tortorella: "I thought we competed harder on pucks. I thought we closed. We had the game in total control and we almost found a way to lose it at the end of the second period there, but we come back. I thought we were much better just as far as taking time and space and making them fight for their ice."
- Boone Jenner scored the goal that gave Columbus the lead for good, his second tally in as many games.
- Alexandre Texier moved to center scored his third goal of the year and first since Oct. 24.
- Cam Atkinson also scored his first goal since netting the overtime winner Oct. 24, earning his fourth goal of the year. He added an assist for his first multipoint game of the year.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist to give him four points -- a goal and three assists -- in the past two games.
The Blue Jackets had some jump early and took a 1-0 lead just 5:37 into the game as Texier got on the board. It concluded a strong shift in the offensive zone, as Seth Jones was able to bring the puck out from behind the net and center to Texier, who had his first shot blocked but followed the rebound and chipped it over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.
Columbus had some gilded chances to double the lead shortly thereafter, as Pierre-Luc Dubois was denied by Howard before some good and bad luck. The good luck was a dump-in took an odd hop off a stanchion and slid to the front of the net with Howard behind the cage, but the Jackets' first try was deflected away and a follow-up chance by Vladislav Gavrikov went off the outside of the post.
Detroit eventually found its footing though and responded well, building up its play until it scored to tie it at 1 at 12:06. Tyler Bertuzzi found a soft spot at the top of the right circle, held the puck and then fired through a screen in front, off the post to the short side of Joonas Korpisalo, and into the net.
Columbus held a 17-11 edge in shots on goal after one but it was just 1-1, and the Blue Jackets continued the territorial advantage in the second but left the period trailing.
That was especially surprising considering the Blue Jackets took the lead during a 5-on-3 advantage early in the frame. Columbus used nice patience on the play and Jones made the right pass, feeding Atkinson at the left post for the tap-in past Howard to make it 2-1.
Columbus killed off its own 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:11 later in the frame -- not even allowing a shot on goal in that span -- and seemed to have momentum, but a 44-second span of the period turned the game on its head. A centering feed by Filip Hronek on the rush went off the skate of Jones and into the net behind Korpisalo at 16:03 to tie the game, then the Wings took the lead shorthanded right after that as Luke Glendening had a breakaway and backhanded the puck behind Korpisalo.
"We knew we were playing well, we just had to stay with it," Tortorella said of the deficit after two. "We couldn't get crazy as far as trying to score that goal and turn pucks over, we just needed to keep playing our game."
And just like the Wings scored twice in short succession to take the lead, Columbus did the same in the third. First, Bjorkstrand tied the game at 7:40 on the power play, as a long rebound came out to him at the top of the right circle and he simply blew it by Howard's blocker. Then 1:03 later, Columbus took a 4-3 lead as Bjorkstrand's diagonal pass found Jenner low on the right and he ripped a sharp angle shot past Howard.
Video: DET@CBJ: Jenner roofs goal from sharp angle
Eric Robinson then seemingly put the nail in the coffin with 6:11 to play, as he read the puck leaving the defensive zone perfectly after a faceoff win, outraced everyone to it and then stuffed it between Howard's legs on a breakaway for his third goal in the last four games.
Detroit didn't go quietly, though, as the Wings scored with 3:14 to go as Dennis Cholowski's shot from the point was deflected by Korpisalo by Bertuzzi to make it 5-4. But the Blue Jackets survived the 2:54 with the Wings' net empty to keep the winning streak alive.
1. Paul MacLean, miracle worker? OK, we kid, but on the night the team's new assistant coach for special teams arrived, the Blue Jackets went 2-for-5 on the power play to extend their PP goal scoring streak to three in a row as well as five of six. Players said after the game there were some early tweaks suggested, but it's not as though the Blue Jackets reinvented the wheel quite yet strategically. "There were a few things, but I'm sure we'll see more of it in the future here," Bjorkstrand said. "I think we're looking forward to working with him." Still, it's probably not a coincidence the team's fortunes have improved as the power play has heated up, and if the team can turn it into a real strength, that would be nothing but a good thing.
2. Props to Cam Atkinson for a standup media session after the game in which he frankly discussed his nearly month-long streak without a goal. "I was pretty embarrassed how I kind of approached the game and was playing. ... I think I have been working hard, just maybe not smart and maybe hoping things were going to come my way eventually. I took a hard look in the mirror and just kind of figured out what I need to do to get back to having fun and just working hard." Getting Atkinson -- as well as Jenner, who scored a fantastic goal -- on the scoresheet was huge as it will take a mix of veterans and youngsters for this team to fill the net.
3. During the 1-5-2 stretch that threatened to submarine the team's season, it felt like the thin margin between wins and losses was always going against a CBJ. Some bad puck luck here, one too many breakdowns there and the team was piling up losses. It almost felt that was happening again as the Wings took a 3-2 lead in the second despite the CBJ's possession domination, but this is a team now that feels the worm has turned a bit. In the end, the Blue Jackets did enough to win tonight, and the key was offense. Five goals for the second game in a row shows the "cloud" hovering over the team is breaking a little bit. "You can feel it," Jones said. "You can feel guys making plays."
The Blue Jackets had a 71-40 edge in total shot attempts and a 37-26 edge in shots on goal. ... Korpisalo had 22 saves while Howard had 32. ... The Blue Jackets scored first for the sixth straight game but have trailed in all six of those games. … Columbus is 9-1-1 when scoring first. … Jones had two assists for his first multipoint game of the year. … Zach Werenski extended his point streak to five games (3-4-7), while Dubois ran his point streak to three games (3-2-5). … Emil Bemstrom's five-game point streak, which tied a CBJ rookie record, ended. … Columbus now has won nine of its last 10 vs. Detroit. ... Columbus swept a three-game homestand for the eighth time in franchise history. ... The Blue Jackets improved to 3-0-0 in Thursday games this season and are now 22-4-1 in Thursday contests dating back to March 8, 2018. ... The Blue Jackets' 14 one-goal games (8-2-4) are the most in the NHL.
Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno returned to action from a three-game suspension and took the place in the lineup of Riley Nash. He was a healthy scratch along with defenseman Scott Harrington.
Columbus hits the road Saturday night for a 7 p.m. game vs. Winnipeg, then returns to Nationwide Arena for three games in five days starting Monday vs. Ottawa.