The Blue Jackets fell to the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday, 1-0, but don't let the low score fool you. It was the kind of game that you couldn't turn away from, one that was fueled by excellent goaltending from both teams and by physical, intense play that kept you on the edge of your seat.
The Jackets played their third game in four nights down a centerman, with William Karlsson out due to illness. They were powered by the play of Sergei Bobrovsky to keep the game scoreless through 60 minutes of regulation and force overtime.
In extra time, Bobrovsky again stood tall with a huge stop on Max Pacioretty before a holding call on Seth Jones gave Montreal the man advantage, and ultimately the opportunity to score the game-winning goal.
"A couple saves Bob made were outstanding and gave us a chance to get the point tonight," Nick Foligno said. "It's just disappointing because I though we probably deserved the two (points) or had a better chance to get the two the way we were controlling the overtime. It got taken out of our hands a little bit, but that's the game."
The Jackets come away with a season record of 2-0-1 over Montreal, and a 12-2 goal advantage in those three games.
In their last six contests, the Jackets are 4-1-1.
Here's what we learned:
Video: CBJ@MTL: Bobrovsky shuts down Lehkonen's breakaway
Bob is doing his job.
Through three periods, Sergei Bobrovsky faced 61 shot attempts, 26 that were on target and turned them all away with the help of excellent defensive play in front of him. He stopped another three attempts in overtime.
In key moments, Bobrovsky denied a 2-on-0 rush by Montreal and late drives by Pacioretty to keep the game scoreless.
Bobrovsky, ever the competitor, will tell you that to play in a game like that is "fun."
"He played good, it's his job," John Tortorella said. "I don't think we should keep saying 'it's spectacular' this is what goalies do this time of year. This is a responsibility and I thought both Bob (and Montreal's Carey Price) made some key saves for their teams."
Video: CBJ@MTL: Bobrovsky makes clutch desperation OT save
This is a team that supports one another.
Bobrovsky's play bears notice, but there were big moments from many of the Jackets players tonight. Boone Jenner blocked four shots. David Savard generated four shots of his own when he wasn't providing the extra clear in front of Bobrovsky or the effort to push a Canadien player to the outside negating the shot attempt. Zach Werenski had eight shot attempts, five of which got on net.
With just 11 forwards and seven defensemen on the bench, the Jackets proved they have the ability to gel with one another and do their jobs even when the on-ice combinations aren't going to be as familiar.
"I just thought we did a lot of good things that some people won't realize," Tortorella said. "(Those are) the little things of the game that I think are helping us, so we're on the right road here as far as how hard we're playing. It was a fun game to be involved in. Both teams played well and both teams played hard."
Video: CBJ@MTL: Bobrovsky makes brilliant stop on Pacioretty
Welcome to the stretch.
This is the kind of game that is going to happen more often than not as the regular season reaches its final weeks. The games mean more, the teams play harder, and the road building environments get louder.
"It was a tough game," Boone Jenner said. "Obviously they are a good team and we knew there was going to be tight checking. But we know that's the way the rest of the games this year are going to go. Every little mistake or every little extra effort goes a long way."
But the Jackets are still confident in the way they are playing and that can only serve them well. For the team and their coach, this game did not mark a departure of the way this team wants to play night in and night out.
"I like where we are going as a team," Tortorella said. "I liked our attack, especially in overtime. We tried to win the game; we won some key face offs to keep puck control. It was a good game. We'll take that point."