Once again, there was a three-goal outburst by the Blue Jackets.
This time, it took a close game and turned it into a comfortable 5-1 victory for Columbus, which ended a two-game skid by ending the Buffalo Sabres' two-game win streak.
Seth Jones scored late in the second period to make it 2-0. Nick Foligno made it 3-0 just 2:18 later. Matt Calvert finished the goal blitz to make it 4-0, just 2:59 after it began.
Boom, boom, boom.
The cannon got another workout, courtesy of the Jackets, who've tied the franchise high with 12 points in the first nine games of a season, and have done this three-goal period thing four times already.
"It's so important, because in this league now, one-goal and two-goal leads are not safe," Foligno said. "You've really got to find a way to pull away from teams, and we've been able to do that with our goal-scoring. They come in bunches, and it helps you as you get further along in the game."
It's more than happenstance. This is now a trend, and here's how the latest example went down:
Goals: BUF - None; CBJ - Oliver Bjorkstrand (Sonny Milano, Seth Jones), 12:00
Shots: Sabres 13, Blue Jackets 10
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Sabres 62.9% (22-13), Blue Jackets 37.1% (13-22)
3:58 - There was a shot attempt by Jones, a puck that hit Foligno in the skate, and then a scramble in front of the Sabres' net. There was a Blue Jackets goal, too … only, it wasn't a goal (even though, for the record, Cam Atkinson gets an 'A' for effort for sending a loose puck into the net).
Alas, his apparent goal was waived off quicker than fans could plug their ears in anticipation of a cannon boom. Foligno made contact with goalie Chad Johnson, whose ability to "play the position," was impeded. No goal. No boom. No early lead for the Jackets.
7:57 - Atkinson can't catch a break. After receiving a great pass from Artemi Panarin in the low slot, he wheeled quickly and snapped a shot at the Sabres' net that hit the right post. Instead of scoring two goals in eight minutes to tie Sonny Milano for the team lead with five goals, Atkinson had nothing but a puck mark on the right pipe to show for it. Hockey gods are heartless sometimes.
12:00 - This time, the Jackets did score the game's first goal, after Alexander Wennberg drew a hooking penalty on Sabres defenseman Zach Redmond. Bjorkstrand made it count on the ensuing power play. After a crisp pass from Jones to Sonny Milano, the rookie forward fed a cross-ice feed to Bjorkstrand. He soon pumped a wrist shot past Boone Jenner's screen, and the puck hit the top right corner for the Jackets' second power-play goal in as many games.
13:09 - Sergei Bobrovsky made several great saves to keep the Sabres off the scoreboard in the first, but the one he made against Kyle Okposo at this point was his niftiest work. Okposo got the puck off a turnover, fired a long shot from the point, and 'Bob' scooped it like a third baseman snagging a shot down the line. Result: Blue Jackets remain ahead 1-0.
QUOTE: "That definitely helps out when a goalie can't see the shot, and he was in front of the net, which is nice … even though he didn't get an apple [assist] on it, he should, almost." - Bjorkstrand on Jenner's screen.
Goals: BUF - None; CBJ - Seth Jones (Brandon Dubinsky, Atkinson), 15:20, Nick Foligno (Jack Johnson), 17:38, Matt Calvert (Markus Nutivaara, Ryan Murray), 18:18
Shots: Blue Jackets 18, Sabres 11
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 63.4% (26-15), Sabres 36.6% (15-26)
3:06 - The Blue Jackets got the first shot on goal of the period, by Ryan Murray, but the Sabres got the first good scoring chances. Jason Pominville took a hard wrist shot from 45 feet away, which Bobrovsky turned aside, and five seconds later Redmond fired one from 25 feet closer. 'Bob' stopped that one too, and wasn't done.
7:19 - Buffalo forced a turnover at its own blue line, which gave Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly a breakaway. He skated alone through the neutral zone, carried into the Columbus end and took a look at his options. O'Reilly took a wrist shot aimed low toward the left post, but Bobrovsky made a sprawling pad save to keep the Blue Jackets in front 1-0. He was rewarded 8:01 later with three straight Columbus goals.
"He made some big saves right before that, too," Calvert said. "After that it was, 'Let's stop messing around, boys. Let's help him out a little more.' Our team, when we score a goal we get pumped up, and when he makes a big save we get pumped up too. We live and die on momentum, and we've got to do a better job of matching that when we don't have those big saves or big goals."
15:20 - Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella wants his top two defensemen, Jones and Zach Werenski, to be more like "rovers," instead of pure defenders. Each has strong offensive instincts, and Jones showed it on the game's second goal. After sliding into the right circle during an odd-man rush, Dubinsky slid him a great one-touch pass for a one-timer that made it 2-0. Atkinson got the other assist. Jenner earned more unsung credit by making a nice outlet pass to start the rush, then hustling down and screening Johnson again.
17:38 - This time, Foligno didn't impede Johnson from playing his position. The Jackets' captain just charged hard to the net after Jack Johnson's wrist shot, and the puck deflected off him into the net. Just like that, it was 3-0 and the Jackets weren't finished.
"Someone told me a goal in the NHL ... it doesn't matter how ugly it is, it's a nice goal," Foligno said. "They're hard to come by."
18:19 - Markus Nutivaara took the initial shot, a 53-foot slapper, and Calvert cleaned it up for his second goal of the season. Johnson made the initial stop on Nutivaara's shot, but the puck trickled through his pads and stopped behind him in the crease. Calvert saw it, and tapped it home for a 4-0 lead on the Jackets' third goal in a 2:58 span.
It was reminiscent of a goal the Jackets allowed Oct. 14 in a 5-4 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild, when Bobrovsky didn't see a loose rebound in the crease and Calvert was unable to prevent it.
QUOTE: "I saw him, that he's going to come break away, and I just [played] my system, and that's it. You just play your system. You try to execute your system, and try to give yourself [the] best chance to stop the puck, and that's it." - Bobrovsky on his save against O'Reilly
Goals: BUF - Seth Griffith (Jordan Nolan, Johan Larsson), 17:26; CBJ - Josh Anderson (Panarin, Wennberg), 19:21
Shots: Blue Jackets 8, Sabres 7
Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets (15-11) 57.7%, Sabres (11-15) 42.3%
Overall shots: Blue Jackets 38, Sabres 35
Overall Corsi: Blue Jackets 51.92% (54-50), Sabres 48.08% (50-54)
3:07 - Milano was all over the place, using his speed to make space, his vision to see plays and his hands to execute them. Three minutes into the third, however, he helped turn the momentum in the Jackets' favor by taking one for the team. Milano was high-sticked by Zemgus Girgensons, and Columbus got its second power play. The Jackets didn't score, but put three shots on goal during the man-advantage and outshot the Sabres 5-0 over a 3:24 span.
17:26 - It looked like Bobrovsky was going to have a "lost in the shuffle" type of shutout, which would've been his second shutout of the season. Instead, the Sabres got the puck off a turnover, worked it to Seth Griffith with a nice pass by Johan Larsson, and he spoiled Bobrovsky's shutout bid with his first goal. His shot beat Bobrovsky to the far side of the net, just inside the left post. Jackets center Zac Dalpe nearly snapped his stick on the ice out of frustration, while 'Bob' took a long skate to the corner afterward.
19:21 - Artemi Panarin got a head of steam coming out of the Columbus zone, got the puck to Anderson near center ice and created a 3-on-1 rush that led to the final goal. Anderson scored it, capping off a big night with his second goal of the season. His wrist shot went under Johnson's glove and over the pad into the far side of the net. Panarin and Wennberg picked up assists, which was Wennberg's 100th in the NHL.
"It's a step along the way," Wennberg said. "In your career, you have a couple things you want to accomplish, and to reach 100 assists, that's a big thing. Obviously, you want to reach bigger numbers, but this is a big step along the way."