If John Tortorella was trying to ignite something with his lineup changes tonight, well, consider those moves successful.
The power play, which had struggled mightily with a capital “M” in the past two weeks, broke out of its prolonged funk. Captain Nick Foligno, who’s been snake-bitten all season long, scored a pair of goals. Scott Hartnell, a healthy scratch on Friday night, scored a goal and added two assists against his old team.
Not a bad night, right?
Above all else, the Blue Jackets were justly rewarded for a solid effort up and down their lineup with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Leading the way at the other end was goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, making his second start in as many nights, was simply outstanding between the pipes.
He made 27 saves – including some jaw-droppers along the way – to back stop the Blue Jackets to a very important victory. They wanted to respond “the right way” to a disappointing loss on Friday night, and right from the opening face-off, they were an engaged and hungry group tonight.
“It’s an understanding of how we need to play,” Foligno said. “These are serious points that we need. We just had an attitude tonight that we’re playing together, forechecking hard. We were working hard for pucks, winning battles on the walls, getting to the front of the net. It’s a big difference in the game from last night to tonight, and it has to be the standard (going forward)."
Foligno opened the scoring at the 8:55 mark of the first period, capping off a play that began with an alert read by defenseman Fedor Tyutin, back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 20.
Tyutin activated on the left point and kept the puck alive, springing it free for Alexander Wennberg in the left circle. Wennberg made one look and hit Foligno for a one-timer and the captain made no mistake.
Jack Johnson made it 2-0 with a seemingly harmless wrist shot from the left wing boards at 13:33. The Blue Jackets entered the zone and didn’t seem to have much going, so Johnson just threw it at the net and it deflected off a Flyer and into the net behind Steve Mason.
They out-shot the Flyers 13-4 in the first period and controlled the 5-on-5 play. In the second period, it was more of the same; they answered a Michael Raffl goal with two of their own, getting goals from Foligno again (8:46) and the former Flyer Hartnell (15:17) to take a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Bobrovsky did his part to keep the score intact through two periods, including a highlight-reel save on Matt Read at 5:38 of the third period that really seemed to slam the door shut.
“They weren’t too happy with how they played last night,” Tortorella said. “They took it upon themselves to get a good start. I thought it was one of our most complete games. It’s a good answer after a bad performance last night.”