BLUE JACKETS (8-12-4) 2, CANUCKS (11-6-6) 1 - OVERTIME
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
The Blue Jackets have cautiously maintained that learning how to win hockey games would be an ongoing process, but lately, the process has produced rather encouraging results.
POST GAME: JACKETS WIN IN OT
Matt Calvert's skill-laden overtime tally at with 56.9 seconds left in sudden death gave Columbus its third consecutive victory, a 2-1 decision over the Vancouver Canucks tonight in front of 13,632 at Nationwide Arena. With the victory, the Blue Jackets (for the time being) pulled within four points of the eighth and final playoff spot with exactly half of the regular season remaining, and it was definitely talked about amongst the players after the game.
It was a game played close to the vest by both clubs and it began to open up a bit in the third period when Columbus got careless with the puck, but Sergei Bobrovsky was on the case to keep it from getting out of hand.
RJ Umberger opened the scoring at 11:33 of the first period, tapping in a rebound created by a strong drive to the net by line mate Nick Foligno. Ryan Johansen started a cycle play deep in Vancouver territory, eventually feeding the puck to Foligno who then whipped a wrap-around chance off the far post. Umberger was at the net mouth, as well, and had an open net to beat Cory Schneider for a 1-0 lead.
Vancouver pulled even early in the third period after the Blue Jackets struggled to get out of their own end, and it was a ricocheted Dan Hamhuis shot that bounced right to Henrik Sedin, and the Canucks captain made no mistake in scoring his fifth of the year to tie things up at 1:05.
And with a few close calls along the way, the Blue Jackets clawed their way to overtime for a fifth straight game and kept their points streak alive -- but that wasn't going to be all for the home side tonight.
In the third period, the Blue Jackets got a power play opportunity when Andrew Alberts was sent off for slashing. An errant back-pass by Jack Johnson at the offensive blue line was picked off by a speedy Jannik Hansen, who had a clear-cut shorthanded breakaway with a chance to give Vancouver the lead. Bobrovsky made a huge left pad save on Hansen and it ignited the Blue Jackets' bench the rest of the way.
- Tough news on the injury front post-game: Derek Dorsett, who left the game in the first period with an upper body injury, suffered a fractured clavicle on a collision at the net and will miss the remainder of the season.
- Bobrovsky was spectacular in net for Columbus, totaling 34 saves including the game-changer on Hansen in the third period. He's stepped up and grabbed the reins in goal for the Blue Jackets, and now it's a matter of how far he can take them. He's now 4-1-1 in his last six appearances.
- Tim Erixon logged 20+ minutes for the fourth time in his last five games on Thursday, finishing the night with 20:29. Erixon also blocked a game-high five shots vs. the Canucks.
- Nick Foligno drew the primary assist on the first period goal by Umberger. Foligno has now recorded 0-5-5 in his last five games played and has formed a solid unit alongside Umberger and Ryan Johansen, especially cycling the puck in the offensive zone.
vs. Detroit Red Wings
Saturday, 2 p.m.