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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ: 5, MIN: 4

Jackets rally from two-goal deficit to hand Wild first-ever home opener defeat

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider /

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Their coach wasn't exactly thrilled, but John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets will take the end result any day.

That was the biggest takeaway for the Jackets on Saturday night, after they defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime to pull off their third straight come-from-behind victory.

"We're just a resilient group," said forward Cam Atkinson, who scored a goal in the second period. "We're finding ways to get the job done, but it's been different every win. Whether we're up by a goal or climbing back into it, we're finding ways to win."

They did the same thing against the New York Rangers on Friday night at Nationwide Arena to start the back-to-back set - scoring two goals in the third period to win 3-1.

Video: Wennberg on game-winning goal

This time, the Jackets trailed 1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2 and 4-3 before Josh Anderson sent it to overtime, tied 4-4, on his first goal and point of the season.

Anderson tipped a shot by David Savard past Devan Dubnyk at 16:23 of the third period, which led to Alexander Wennberg's goal that ended it 47 seconds into overtime.

Wennberg's first goal of the season came courtesy of left wing Artemi Panarin, who had three assists and earn his final one by sending the puck off a Wild defender and Dubnyk before bouncing off the shaft of Wennberg's stick into the net.

"You don't want to draw it up this way, but it's all good," Tortorella said. "As far as you go through all this stuff here, you go through all the different situations, it's all good when you get the two points."

Panarin has seven points (one goal, six assists) in Columbus' first five games, helping the Jackets (4-1-0) sweep this back-to-back before heading off to play the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Video: Savard on earning kepi tonight

"That's the type of player he is," Atkinson said. "He's a dynamic player. That's what we need him to do, so it's good to see that."

Zach Werenski and Savard scored the other goals for Columbus, which got points from 11 players.

Minnesota, which had five forwards sidelined with injuries, was forced to recall four replacement forwards from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on Friday.

It didn't matter most of the game, as the Wild nearly did what they usually do in home-openers. They almost won, and still haven't lost in regulation in their first home game of the season (14-0-3).

They just couldn't make multiple leads stand up for a win this time.

Video: CBJ@MIN: Werenski pots great dish from Wennberg

Tyler Ennis had two goals for the Wild, who also got goals from Eric Staal and Landon Ferraro, one of the replacement forwards.

Dubnyk made 30 saves for Minnesota, which nearly took a 5-3 lead late in the third on a shot by Jason Zucker that hit the crossbar. Instead of bouncing into the net, the puck bounced into the crease beneath Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 17 stops for the Jackets.

Columbus outshot Minnesota 35-21 overall, including 13-5 in the third period. The Jackets had the only two shots in overtime.

"We kept battling," Savard said. "That's the biggest thing for our group. It's huge for the team. You've got to put those wins in the bank early in the season. Sometimes you might lose a few that you should've won, so it's a good sign for us."

Video: Condensed Game: Blue Jackets @ Wild 


First Twenty

Goals: CBJ - Zach Werenski (Alexander Wennberg, Artemi Panarin), 16:25; MIN - Eric Staal (Chris Stewart, Mathew Dumba), 15:50

Shots: Wild 9, Blue Jackets 6

Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 63.6%, Wild 36.4% 

The Skinny: The action was sporadic for much of the first period.

Extended stretches of inaction in the offensive zone were dotted with frenetic scoring chances at both ends and great saves, as the goalies stole the spotlight early.

Bobrovsky picked up right where he left off Friday against the Rangers, when he made 37 saves in the Jackets' 3-1 win to start this back-to-back.

He stopped a breakaway attempt by Staal at 4:29, gloved a slap shot by Tyler Ennis at 11:14, and stonewalled Mikko Koivu on two good scoring chances for the Wild captain.

Dubnyk made eight saves for Minnesota.

The goals came late and were scored in a span of 35 seconds. First was Staal's, which he roofed to the short side to beat Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead. Werenski buried his second goal of the season with 3:35 left to tie it 1-1.

Video: Atkinson on team's resiliency throughout game 

Second Twenty

Goals: CBJ - David Savard (Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Foligno), 7:42; MIN - Tyler Ennis PPG (Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter, 2:58, Landon Ferraro (Zack Mitchell), 5:07

Shots: Wild 10, Blue Jackets 10

Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 52.2%, Wild 47.8%

The Skinny: The Jackets could've folded, considering the way the Wild came out for this period and quickly established a 3-1 lead.

Instead, after allowing back-to-back goals in the first five minutes, they dug in and found a way to stay in the game.

Ennis made it 2-1 on a power play, 26 seconds after Jackets forward Zac Dalpe was sent to the penalty box for holding, and Ferraro pushed it to 3-1 on a strange play a little more than two minutes later.

His hard wrist shot trickled through Bobrovsky's pads, and the puck just sat there in the blue paint behind him. A scramble ensued, and the puck wound up in the net for a goal credited to Ferraro.

Savard and Oliver Bjorkstrand helped the Jackets reclaim momentum, though. They combined on Savard's goal, with Bjorkstrand's shot getting blocked to Savard, who scored to pull the Jackets within 3-2.


Final Twenty

Goals: CBJ - Cam Atkinson (Jack Johnson, Artemi Panarin), 2:39, Josh Anderson (David Savard, Matt Calvert), 16:23; MIN - Tyler Ennis PPG (Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter), 1:42 

Shots: Blue Jackets 13, Wild 5

Shot-Attempts percentage (Corsi 5v5): Blue Jackets 65.5%, Wild 34.5%

The Skinny: Once again, the third was the Jackets' best period.

After pulling off late comebacks to earn wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and Rangers last week, they did it again at the expense of the Wild.

Minnesota appeared to take control on Ennis' second power-play goal of the game, which made it 4-2 just 1:42 into the period, but Atkinson responded 57 seconds later to make it 4-3.

That paved the way for Anderson to tie it with 3:37 left in regulation.

QUOTE: "It was good to see a lot of guys contribute tonight. I think that's important for us going forward. You always want to start off hot or playing well in the first little bit, and it's good to see guys getting on the scoresheet." - Atkinson


Another Five (OT)

Goals: CBJ - Alexander Wennberg (Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones), 0:47

Shots: Blue Jackets 2, Wild 0

The Skinny: It didn't take long for the Panarin to do his thing in OT.

After getting the puck, he cut to the middle, ripped a shot and watched it deflect off three guys, including Wennberg, who batted it in with the shaft of his stick.

The goal withstood a video review, and the Blue Jackets went home happy.

QUOTE: "He's tough to stop when he gets to the middle, and we get a body going to the net. [Wennberg], who won't shoot the puck, it has to bounce off him and hit his stick for him to shoot the puck, scores a goal." - Tortorella on Panarin's final play in OT.

 Video: CBJ@MIN: Savard snipes his first goal of the season

News and Notes

**Tortorella said Werenski was fighting through some pain in the third period, but remained in the game. It was the second straight game Werenski has appeared to battle discomfort, without leaving the game.

**Tortorella split up his top two defense pairings in the second, putting Werenski with Savard and Jones with Johnson. He rejoined them in their usual configurations in the third. "I thought our team just wasn't good for a number of minutes," Tortorella said. "I thought [Johnson] and [Savard] struggled. Quite honestly, there's no one particular person I'm going to pick on. I think it was a group of guys that, I think the effort was there, but we were not sharp."

**The Jackets haven't scored a power-play goal since the season-opener, when they went 1-for-2 in a 5-0 win against the New York Islanders. They went 0-for-3 against the Wild, and are now 0-for-11 in the past four games. Tortorella said the answer is tied to simplicity. "Our power play's too cute," he said. "We're over-passing. I don't think it's a lack of effort. I just think we need to be simple. It starts with putting pucks to the net."

**Bobrovsky made some great saves in the first, but it wasn't his best night. After allowing just two goals in his first three starts, "Bob" gave up four on just 21 shots. "I don't think Bob was sharp," Tortorella said. "I think our team helped him tonight, as Bob has helped us in a few games. I thought we helped Bob tonight find a way to win."

**Anderson missed all of training camp and the preseason with a contract dispute. He didn't have a point in his first two games, but his first goal, was a big one. "It's huge," Atkinson said. "With everything that happened with him at the beginning of the season, he got rewarded tonight. He's a big body, so we need him going hard to the net and doing stuff like that."



Wild: At the Winnipeg Jets on Friday (7 p.m. CT, FS-N+, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (8 p.m., FS-O, TSN3, Fox Sports Go, NHL.TV)

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