BLUE JACKETS 2 | WILD 1 (SO)
XCEL ENERGY CENTER
ST. PAUL, MINN.
Todd Richards jokingly refers to Sergei Bobrovsky's last game in Minnesota (April 13, 2013) as "the Bob game," and it was a horror movie for the Minnesota Wild. On Saturday night in St. Paul, Bobrovsky authored up a sequel.
FINAL: BLUE JACKETS 2 | WILD 1 (SO)
In what has become a trend of late, Bobrovsky was sensational between the pipes, and he continued his dominant run of play at the Xcel Energy Center to fuel the Jackets to a 2-1 shootout victory. Bobrovsky made 32 saves, 24 coming in the first two periods, to stave off a hungry Minnesota club and keep the Jackets in the battle.
Dalton Prout was first to break through and beat Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper - who was very good in this game - blasting a one-timer from the center point through a maze of bodies and into the net for a 1-0 lead with 21.6 seconds left in the second period. In what had become a back-and-forth, trading chances type of game (not exactly what the Jackets wanted to do), the first goal in the game was a gritty, grinding goal created by solid play down low by Jack Johnson.
But the Wild wasted little time drawing even in the third period. Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, two thirds of a white-hot top line for Minnesota, executed a crafty set play off a long dump-in to make it a 1-1 game three minutes into the final period. The Wild kept pressing, as the Blue Jackets knew they would, but they hung in there and got the game to overtime in large part due to Bobrovsky.
And in an improbable twist of fate, the Blue Jackets turned a 2-0 shootout deficit into a shootout victory, something that had never before been done in franchise history.
After Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu scored for the Wild and Cam Atkinson was denied, it was up to Artem Anisimov to keep it going. Rather than his signature backhand move, Anisimov went to a forehand deke and beat Kuemer to prolong the shootout. Pominville missed the net high, setting the stage for Mark Letestu to execute a backhand deke move that just barely got behind Kuemper to square up the shootout.
Bobrovsky got the blocker/right pad on Matt Moulson's attempt, and then Ryan Johansen scored what initially appeared to be the game-winning goal on a slick move to his backhand. After video review, it was determined that Johansen's attempt was not scored on a rebound the Jackets were awarded the second point.
This wasn't a single moment, but a collection of moments down the stretch that contained big saves by Bobrovsky to keep the score tied at 1-1. He was tremendous between the pipes when his team needed him most.
1. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
Really, the only thing you need to know about Bobrovsky's performance tonight was that Wild coach Mike Yeo mentioned post-game that he was relieved to not face him again this season.
2. DARCY KUEMPER (MIN)
The young netminder made the saves when called upon and frustrated the Jackets in regulation.
3. DALTON PROUT (CBJ)
Another workman-like effort on the back end for Prout, who has been very good since his latest recall from Springfield. He scored the Jackets' only goal in regulation and overtime.
VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.