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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 4, BUF 3

Jackets' power play comes up huge in victory over Sabres

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL /

It was a night of record tying and record breaking at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets bested the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 and in the process, tied the franchise record for wins in a season (43, set in 2013-14) and for wins on home ice (25, set in 2008-09).

As for the record breaking, on the second Jackets' goal of the night, Zach Werenski got the secondary assist and bested Rick Nash's 17-22-39 stat line from the 2002-03 season to lay sole claim the Jackets' rookie scoring record.

It was a bit of a different game than the Jackets' are used to playing as of late. The Sabres got on the board first in the opening period to end Sergei Bobrovsky's shutout streak at 182:50. The Jackets then answered three minutes later off a David Savard goal.

But, as the two teams traded goals back and forth, the Jackets would rely on their special teams more than their 5-on-5 play for the balance of the game to get the win.

Nick Foligno and Sam Gagner each got a power play goal, and the score was tied at three, before Boone Jenner, with just over five minutes left in regulation, pulled Robin Lehner out of his net and tucked the puck behind the goaltender to seal the Jackets victory 4-3.

"In the game I don't think we were very strong compete wise," Foligno said. "But we found a way to have our power play bail us out which is huge. I didn't like the way we played (at even strength). I thought we stick-checked and swung off of things and that's not how we need to play the game. But your power play is there to bail you out which you need. It's a big win for us."


Here's what we learned:

Video: Torts' reaction to a 4-3 win over Buffalo

Powered by the power play.

The Jackets power play that had been ranked number one in the league in the first part of the season seemed to have sputtered of late. Chances for the special teams unit were coming less frequently, and, as coaches and players have noted, other teams can scout your tactics and adjust accordingly.

Tonight though, the Jackets were frustrated by their 5-on-5 play and ended up being propelled by both power play units - each of which scored a goal.

"(The power play) gave us momentum," Foligno said. "It's been awesome. We've been working towards that slowly. We've been working on it in practice and it paid off for us tonight. Just the momentum it created, it seemed like we competed more on our power plays than anywhere else."

Video: Foligno on their strong special teams tonight

Records are nice…later.

With the first period winding down, the Jackets went on their first power play of the night and capitalized. After Alexander Wennberg worked hard along the boards and chased down the puck to keep it in the zone, Zach Werenski got the puck and passed back to Wennberg, and then it went to Foligno for the Jackets first lead of the night (2-1).

In the process, Werenski (9-31-40) set that points record for a rookie, but that's not the 19-year-old's focus for now.

"It's pretty unbelievable," Werenski said. "It's definitely cool when you look up at the big screen and see that. I had no expectations coming into the year and to pass someone like Rick Nash especially, who has had a great NHL career, it's pretty cool.

"But obviously it's a team game and I'm more focused on what we're going to do as a team coming up here."

Video: Werenski on setting the CBJ rookie points record

Jenner is getting rewarded.

Boone Jenner has scored two of his fourteen goals this season in the last three games, and both have been game winners. As the season winds down with fewer than 20 regular season games left, adding Jenner's names to the list of players who have their scoring touch, is not only good for the team, it's an earned performance for the assistant captain.

"If there's a guy who deserves a goal like that, a winning goal, it's that guy," John Tortorella said. "He's been snake bitten around the net. But Jenner has been really good, he just doesn't get rewarded as much as some of the other guys. If anybody deserves to score a winning goal it's him, because he played really well."

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