The Blue Jackets set a new franchise record for wins (44) and total points in a season (94) when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3, Monday. The Jackets gave up a two-goal lead and allowed Philadelphia eight power plays on the night, but battled through and found a way to get two important points.
Playing without Nick Foligno, who was ill, the Jackets built a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes of the game off of goals by Sam Gagner and Cam Atkinson. But then, for the second game in a row, the Jackets let their opponents claw back into it.
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The Flyers scored three straight goals, before Zach Werenski tied the game with 5:30 to go in the second. His goal came off a set play from a William Karlsson faceoff win and leveled the score before the second intermission.
With the final period being the deciding frame, when the Jackets got just their second power play opportunity of the night, they capitalized.
The second power play unit executed a play designed by assistant coach Brad Larsen to provide the game winner when Seth Jones sent a short pass down to Brandon Saad who fired the puck across the zone to Brandon Dubinsky. The assistant captain scored from the middle of the right circle to make it 4-3.
Cam Atkinson added his second goal of the night on an empty net score with 21 seconds left in regulation.
"These games are never perfect," John Tortorella said. "A lot of things go on but this team has answered all the time. They lose a game (Saturday) then they find a way to come back and win this one here. I'm really happy with how they went about it in a crazy game."
Here's what we learned:
Video: CBJ@PHI: Dubinsky gives Jackets the lead with PPG
Brandon Dubinsky steps up.
Dubinsky became the 11th Blue Jacket to score ten goals this season when he notched the game winner 8:46 into the third period.
"(Going into the third), we just said 'first and foremost stay out of the box,'" Dubinsky said. "The whole second period we were short. We said they've got to give us one or two if we work hard enough and I was able to score.
"Larsen set that play up this morning. It was kind of a goofy play, until we got here and watched a little video tonight and you could see that play would work. He's done a great job with the power play all year and we were able to execute it."
Dubinsky also came up huge in the final penalty kill of the night when, with the Flyers skating 6-on-4, he efforted a poke check to push Philadelphia out of the zone.
Video: CBJ@PHI: Werenski buries one-timer through traffic
Time to return to disciplined play.
The Blue Jackets gave up eight power play opportunities against tonight. It's the most they've given any opponent this season, previously having given Carolina six on Jan. 21. That many penalties disrupted the flow of players on the bench and eliminated five-on-five opportunities for the Jackets' offense.
Jack Johnson played 9:40 shorthanded, and six players played four minutes or more on the penalty kill.
The Jackets had talked about playing with control tonight, but as Seth Jones said, it didn't happen the way the team drew it up. Nonetheless, this team found a way to win.
"All we can do is stay positive," Atkinson said. "The second that you get negative or start getting down on yourselves or start putting the blame on other players that's when you lose the bench. We were in the box a lot in the second, they gained momentum, but we stuck with it. I think that's the most important thing."
Video: CBJ@PHI: Atkinson dekes past Mason for breakaway goal
More records are set.
In 2013-14 the Jackets set franchise records for wins and total points in a regular season in their final game of the campaign. Tonight, this group of Jackets broke those records with 14 games left to play in the year.
The accolades don't mean anything right now to this group. They are but a mile marker of the team's progress.
"We're just scratching the surface with this group, I think," Seth Jones said. "It's been a great year for the Columbus Blue Jackets we should be proud of ourselves. But the real hockey hasn't started yet. We're still looking to get better so tonight is just another building block."
CBJ SET FRANCHISE RECORD FOR WINS IN A SEASON