BLUE JACKETS 2 | SHARKS 1
Sergei Bobrovsky emphatically announced his return to the Blue Jackets lineup with his best performance of the young season.
He made 36 saves including a handful of dandies in the third period to keep San Jose at bay, yielding only a late second period goal to Joe Pavelski in a huge win for the Blue Jackets. They've now won back-to-back games after a 2-1 victory tonight, and have done well to sustain some momentum after snapping a nine-game losing skid on Friday night in Philadelphia.
And much like Friday night, the Blue Jackets' power play came through in the clutch.
Clinging to a one-goal lead in a second period that was largely controlled by the Sharks, the Blue Jackets got a power play chance after Mirco Mueller interfered with Ryan Johansen in the neutral zone (a necessary penalty as Johansen had Mueller beat after chipping a pass off the boards to himself). With the second unit on, Boone Jenner whipped a pass across the zone to Jack Johnson, who sneaked down to the goal line before finding Cam Atkinson on the back door. Atkinson corralled the puck and fired it past Antti Niemi with 3:41 left in the second period to make it 2-0 Columbus, but it was a very short-lived two-goal cushion.
One of the Blue Jackets' few defensive-zone miscues allowed Pavelski to get a clean look at Bobrovsky from inside the circles, and with one quick wrister, it was a 2-1 game headed to the third period.
To borrow a term from the soccer world, Bobrovsky recorded a clean sheet in the final stanza to lock down two very important points for Columbus (6-10-1). He stopped all 16 San Jose shots in the third period, and was instrumental in helping the Blue Jackets kill off a four-minute high sticking penalty to Alexander Wennberg with five minutes to play.
That penalty kill we just mentioned? It was probably the game's tipping point. And what an opportunity it was for the Sharks and their lethal power play, but they were thwarted by an aggressive Blue Jackets penalty kill with plenty of assistance from Bobrovsky. San Jose threatened but didn't convert, coming up empty on its best chance(s) of the game.
1 - Bobrovsky (CBJ)
2 - Atkinson(CBJ)
3 - Savard (CBJ)
vs. Detroit Red Wings
Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET