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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 1, MIN 0

Brandon Saad nets the third period winner in battle against the Wild

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL /

If you just looked at the score of Thursday's game against the Minnesota Wild you might think it was a game lacking in excitement. But make no mistake, the Blue Jackets came out on the winning end of a 1-0 game that was a fast paced, back-and-forth affair with a total of 78 shots on goal.

For the second time in as many games, the final score of a Blue Jackets game was 1-0, but this time, the Jackets were on the winning side of the equation beating the Minnesota Wild and sweeping the season series 2-0.

After a disallowed Minnesota score due to a distinct kicking motion in the second period, Brandon Saad scored the lone goal of the game 4:32 into the third and snapped a two-game, 108:49 scoring drought for the Jackets in the process. It was his 19th goal of the season, and came on a second effort after Devan Dubnyk couldn't corral Saad's shot from the right circle.

Sergei Bobrovsky was again simply outstanding. He turned away all 38 shots he faced and in the process earned his fourth shutout of the season, and his 33rd win this year, a new career high for the Russian goaltender.

The win marked the first time the Jackets have had back-to-back home shutouts since 2013 and the fourth time in franchise history that the team has 40 or more wins.

 "I was proud of us," Nick Foligno said. "I thought we bent, we bent a lot at some points, but we found a way to win a 1-0 game. And that's a huge credit to Bob, he was outstanding. We found a way to get a huge goal, with Saader making a great play to get us one and we held on."

Let's look at what we learned:


Video: Torts' reaction to the Jackets' 1-0 over the Wild

Patience is a virtue.

The Jackets have enjoyed scoring goals this year. They sit fifth in the league in goals for per game (3.23) and have scored more than five goals in a game seven times this year. But as the last quarter of the season plays out, the Jackets expect teams to play tighter, check harder, and goals aren't going to be as easy to come by. That demands that this team play patient.

"Minnesota is a team you have to stay patient against because that is how they play, they wait for you to crack," Nick Foligno said. "That's something we talked about after the All-Star break. We said 'let's start winning these games 1-nothing.' That's what you're going to have to do come post season time and come crunch time.

"You don't want to be a team that's having to win 7-4, 7-5. We have the ability to score goals here but it's the tightening up and playing the right way. To win a 1-0 game, that's hard to do especially against a good team like that, this is a big win for us."

Video: Bob on picking up a crucial two points at home

Balance in the lineup, balance in play.

The patient play the Jackets showed tonight was a positive comparison to the intensity the team brought to Tuesday's game against Montreal. While all year the subject of the team's identity, of "who they are," has been a topic of conversation, the reality may actually be that there isn't an identity, rather, there is finally the ability to matchup against any opponent and any style of game.

"I think the biggest strength of our team, and it's grabbed our room too, is our balance," John Tortorella said. "I think we have good balance. I think we can play the game in different ways. I think we can play fast, I think we can play a hard game also. I think we can play a patient game.

"I think we had some patient minutes tonight where it wasn't all about trying to create offense. I think we've gotten better how to play in the league and to play in the league you have to play different ways, that's what I think our growth has gone to."

Video: Brandon Saad on scoring the lone goal vs. the Wild

Scoring is Saadisfying.

"Brandon Saad had put himself in the goal column only once in 12 games coming into tonight's contest and John Tortorella has moved him around a bit in the lineup to provide balance to the team's offense while finding a place for Oliver Bjorkstrand."

Tonight, on a shift with frequent line mates Alex Wennberg and Nick Foligno, Saad got the lone goal on a textbook display of following the puck and not giving up on the play.

"I was just trying to 'get ugly' at the net and stuck one in," Saad said. "I knew the puck got deflected going in so it was tough for (the goaltender) to read. I just continued on going to the net and (the puck) just kind of fell there and I tried to get a stick on it and somehow it found a way in for me."

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