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Bob does it again for Blue Jackets

Columbus still scuffling offensively, but another great night for Bobrovsky nets win in Montreal.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Eventually, the Blue Jackets will pick up goalie Sergei Bobrovsky if he's having an off night.

Right now, they're thankful for the opposite. Bobrovsky is carrying the Blue Jackets during a stretch when the offense is sputtering, and his latest goaltending masterpiece - a 2-1 overtime win Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre - was another shining example.

Bobrovsky made 28 saves, and it felt like each one was a game-saver. None stood out more than a dazzling, diving effort with his blocker to deny a sure goal in the third period off a 2-on-1 rush.

"It's the key to winning in the National Hockey League," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said afterward. "Your goaltender has to do it. I mean, a couple saves Bob made in the third period, and put that with the save he made in Detroit [on Saturday], it's a big reason we're getting points. Teams go through it, and a goaltender has to stand in there, and Bob has been terrific for us, to give us the opportunity."

He's needed to be.

Columbus has scored just one goal in regulation in its past four games, and hasn't scored on a power play in six games (0-for-15). The Jackets went 0-for-2 on power plays against the Canadiens, and saw their success rate drop to just 9.6 percent.

They're fighting the puck, during power plays and 5-on-5, and a pattern developed over the past three games. In each game, the Blue Jackets have scored early and then couldn't score again in regulation.

This time it was Josh Anderson scoring early, with his team-leading seventh goal just 2:29 into the first period. The Jackets didn't score again until Zach Werenski ended it 1:09 into overtime.

It was the second straight win for Columbus beyond regulation time, and sixth victory in seven games that have lasted longer than 60 minutes. It took a nine-round shootout Saturday in Detroit, not to mention an incredible skate save by Bobrovsky in overtime, and then barely lasted a minute of overtime in Montreal.

"It's just, Bob never gives," Tortorella said. "He's an athlete. The things he can do, as far as going side-to-side, [are] just so impressive."

Against the Canadiens, Bobrovsky's lateral coverage helped him deny a sure goal off a 2-on-1 rush in the third, with Montreal trailing, 1-0. Andrew Shaw and Jacob de la Rose were the two Canadiens forwards on the rush, and they used the advantage well.

Shaw drew attention to his side before passing to De la Rose on the left winf. After receiving the pass, De la Rose sent the puck toward a wide-open half of the net with a wrist shot. It was denied by Bobrovsky, who threw his stick down, lunged toward to his right and just deflected it with his blocker.

Bobrovsky couldn't recall afterward if he'd jettisoned the stick on purpose, but it looked that way.

"Sometimes it just happens, you know?" he said. "I can't explain. I play by the moment, and the moment [dictated] that play. I'm fortunate I made it."

The Blue Jackets were too.

After fairly even play in the first two periods, they were outplayed most of the third. The Canadiens pushed hard for an equalizer, and eventually got it when Paul Byron chipped home a rebound with 7:46 left.

That might've been a game-winning goal had it not been for Bobrovsky's acrobatics against De la Rose. It also would've been Bobrovsky's best save of the season had he not also made that sprawling, desperation skate save against a 2-on-0 in overtime Saturday in Detroit.

"It's just a great save," Tortorella said Tuesday. "I think right now, the Columbus Blue Jackets own the best save of the year, in the highlights, and the second-best save of the year in the highlights. And it's fortunate, because it allows us to get some points."

Big points, too.

The Jackets moved to 23 points after 19 games, which has them seated second in the Metropolitan Division prior to games Wednesday. Had they not gotten a point in either of the past two games, they'd be sixth. Had they not won both, they'd be tied with the fourth-place Washington Capitals (21 points).

Bobrovsky was asked in Montreal which of his remarkable stops the past two games was better.

"You guys decide," he told reporters, smiling. "I just take two points, and I'm happy with that."

The Jackets are too. Their goalie has delivered a pair of big wins the past two games, and they've needed every save.

"It's obvious, we have a lot of guys struggling [to score]," Tortorella said. "The first two periods, neither team really generated much, and obviously 'Bob' was the story in the third period to give us a chance."

Video: CBJ@MTL: Bobrovsky turns in 28 saves against Habs

News & Notes

SEEING EYE SHOT: Werenski said he didn't actually see an opening in the net when he fired the shot that became the game-winning goal. After keeping the puck out wide to his left, following a cross-ice feed from Cam Atkinson, he just let it go and tried to put it in a place he thought would have a chance to beat Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren.

His hunch paid off in his fifth goal of the season and a game-winner.

"I knew my stick was farther out than what I could see with my eyes, so it's one of those things where it's kind of cliché, like your stick can see what your eyes can't," Werenski said. "I knew that I probably had an angle of low glove there, and I shot it there, just kind of hoping it would go in, and it found its way in."

SCHROEDER MAKES HIS DEBUT: It wasn't the way Jordan Schroeder planned it, but the 27-year old forward finally made his Blue Jackets' debut Tuesday. He logged 7:23 while centering the fourth line and won 6-of-8 face-offs (75 percent).

It was a trying path for Schroeder to play for Columbus. After being traded to the Blue Jackets on June 23, he signed a two-year contract to stay with the organization and then came to training camp vying for an NHL role.

He sustained an upper-body injury early in camp, missed the rest of the preseason and start of the regular season, and then was reassigned to Cleveland once he cleared waivers following a conditioning stint there. Schroeder then came down with a virus that held him back for more than a week.

"I was sick for a week and a half, but I'm finally feeling really good on the ice," Schoreder said. "This weekend, legs and stamina and everything else were back and I felt really good."

The Jackets could use a guy like Schroeder in their bottom-six mix. Usual fourth-line center, Lukas Sedlak, and veteran forward Matt Calvert (upper body) are both weeks away from returning.

PERPLEXING PROBLEM: One season after finishing last in the NHL in power plays awarded (211), the Blue Jackets find themselves near the bottom again to start this season. Prior to the game in Montreal, they'd been awarded 52 power plays on 54 penalties drawn. They were ranked 28th in power plays awarded and 30th in penalties drawn.

It's a carryover from last season, when the Blue Jackets' number of power plays awarded was the lowest in the NHL in 40 years.

"No idea," Tortorella said, when asked Monday after practice. "Could be the refs, I don't know. I wish I could really sound intelligent and say it's … I don't know why."

Captain Nick Foligno is also stumped, especially after the trend carried over to this season.

"I don't know if they hate me and 'Dubi' [Brandon Dubinsky], and we've just yelled at too many refs over the years, [but] I don't know," Foligno said. "I don't know what it is. I am disappointed, because I don't think we play a style of game that doesn't allow us to get penalties. If you look at the players we have, and the way we play it is baffling sometimes how we don't have more."

The Blue Jackets drew two penalties that resulted in power plays against the Canadiens, and didn't score on either.

"You don't want to turn into a team that starts diving and things like that, because then you just get pegged as one of those teams, but it is frustrating, especially where we are with our power play right now," he said. "It'd be nice to get a few more chances to actually work on it [in games]. Some teams average three or four a night, and we're lucky to get one or two."

JOHNSON, SAVARD CONSULT TORTORELLA: Last week, following a practice at Nationwide Arena, veteran defensemen Jack Johnson and David Savard had an on-ice talk with Tortorella - who prefers to communicate with players on the ice, as opposed to his office.

They had some requests of the coaching staff, including more video study sessions.

"I talked to Jack and Savvy, and it was a really good conversation the other day out there," Tortorella said. "It was not so much push-back [from them], but they were talking about some of the things they wanted from us, as coaches. They wanted to look at more video with us."

HOMECOMING FOR DUBOIS, SAVARD: Savard and rookie forward Pierre-Luc Dubois are each from towns located near Montreal. Savard was a big Canadiens fans growing up, while Dubois didn't have a favorite - the Philadelphia Flyers - until he got older.

Playing his first NHL game at Bell Centre was special, regardless. Dubois had about 15 people there to watch him. It's still memorable for Savard, as well.

"It's always nice to come back," he said. "I grew up coming here as a kid, as a fan, and the building's always rocking. It's obviously fun to have your family come watch you play, so it's a special place [for me]."

THE BEARD'S COMING OFF: Savard offered to shave his beard for charity, if he could raise $2,000 by Nov. 15 as part of the "Movember" movement to raise funds to help fight prostate cancer. The goal was reached, and now a donor has pledged to match further contributions up to $5,000.

Savard said Thursday is the day the beard is coming off.

"I trim it quite often, but I haven't touched it for the last four or five months," Savard said. "It's been a bit ugly. But it's for a great cause. It's going to look different, and it's going to be funny."

Savard said his long-time girlfriend has a vested interest in the pledge drive.

"She said she was going to put all the money [up] to make sure it all goes away," Savard said.

UP NEXT

(All times ET)

Blue Jackets: Host the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m., FS-O, Fox Sports Go; Radio: 97.1 FM, BlueJackets.com; NHLN-US, MSG+, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)

Video: Werenski, Bobrovsky lift Jackets past Habs in OT, 2-1

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