BLUE JACKETS (11-12-6) 1, COYOTES (13-11-4) 0 - SHOOTOUT
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
Sergei Bobrovsky is authoring some kind of story right now, and even his head coach couldn't recall off-hand a run quite like the Blue Jackets goaltending has strung together.
In what admittedly was not their cleanest or most complete effort in the first 28 games, the 24-year-old netminder held the Jackets together through regulation, overtime, and a spotless shootout. He made 39 saves - equaling a season-high he set just two days ago - and catalyzed the Blue Jackets to a 1-0 shootout win in front of 14,231 at Nationwide Arena.
We'll go into more detail on Bobrovsky's stats in tonight's "quick takes," but the hot streak is undeniable. His teammates have played a strong defensive game in front of him (as was the case tonight once again) and have given him opportunities to see as many pucks as possible with minimal traffic. Bobrovsky's strongest test came in the shootout, when Phoenix sent Mikkel Boedker and old Jacket nemesis Steve Sullivan to the plate. Boedker missed the target high and wide with a wrist shot, and Sullivan tried a sweeping forehand deke that Bobrovsky sniffed out all the way.
Though the scoresheet was a lonely neighborhood tonight, it wasn't for a lack of action on the ice.
Jared Boll and Paul Bissonnette renewed acquaintances in the second period tonight, engaging in a spirited brawl that ended with Bissonnette's jersey shredded like old tax documents. The Blue Jackets got some energy from that and played a strong second and third period, withstanding a pair of Coyotes power plays at the end of the second and start of the third.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards put his two most consistent shootout performers - Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu - 1-2 in the batting order to start things off after another whirlwind overtime. Anisimov went to his signature backhand deke, and Letestu went bar-down in the second round to give Columbus an insurmountable edge in the shootout.
In a 0-0 game through 65 minutes, there was not a distinct shift in momentum but mostly two clubs trying to grab hold of it. But whenever the Coyotes tried to get something going, they were thwarted by Bobrovsky. He was the game's deciding factor and most pivotal performer, without question.
- Bobrovsky's numbers in his last eight appearances (take a breath): 6-0-2, a 0.73 GAA and a .976 save percentage and two shutouts (the first two of his NHL career) in that span. Some unbelievable goaltending right now.
- Jack Johnson led all skaters with 26:61 TOI and four blocked shots on Saturday.
- Colton Gillies and LW Nick Fologno led all players with five hits apiece on Saturday.
- Only a matter of time before Tim Erixon nets his first career goal. He's been all around it the past few weeks, including a loud goal post in Chicago. He looked to have his best chance yet tonight, getting a perfect pass in the slot from Brassard but Michael Stone got in the way for Phoenix and blocked the shot at the last moment.
vs. Nashville Predators
Tuesday, 7 p.m.