For the second consecutive game on home ice, the Blue Jackets put their forecheck to work for 60 minutes and came away with a resounding victory.
Columbus got things going shortly after the puck dropped, drawing two minor penalties on the same sequence at the 1:36 mark of the first period. Teemu Selanne (high-sticking) and line mate Saku Koivu (boarding) were sent to the penalty box, and the Blue Jackets capitalized on the ensuing two-man advantage.
With R.J. Umberger applying a heavy screen to Ducks goaltender Dan Ellis, captain Rick Nash fired a wrist shot through the traffic for a 1-0 lead at 2:23. It was the ideal start for the Blue Jackets, who out-shot the Ducks 21-20 and applied pressure in all three zones.
A much-needed 3-1 victory in front of an involved crowd of 16,022 at Nationwide Arena is something the Blue Jackets think can get their season going in the right direction.
Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan accounted for the only blemish against Columbus goaltender Steve Mason tonight, who looked confident in net making 19 saves. Ryan took a tip pass at the offensive blue line, roared in on a two-on-one and roofed the puck over Mason’s glove. Terms on the ice were not all-square for long, as one of the Blue Jackets continued to state his case for remaining in Columbus the rest of the season.
Rookie center Ryan Johansen, playing in his ninth NHL game tonight, scored a gorgeous goal off the rush just 1:57 into the second period for a 2-1 lead. Antoine Vermette made a nice play at the blue line to get the puck free, and he sprung Johansen with a pretty stretch pass. Johansen barged right to the net and backhanded the puck between Ellis’ blocker and the post. It was the kind of goal that Johansen was known for in junior hockey – using his size and reach to lean on defenders and get to the scoring area.
Fedor Tyutin added the insurance marker at 12:57 of the second period on a hard slap shot that found the glove-hand corner behind Ellis. It was the second goal in three games for Tyutin, who has logged serious minutes on the Columbus blue line and contributed offense as well.
Johansen’s goal sent a jolt through Nationwide Arena and also the Blue Jackets bench. The Ducks had some momentum going after an extended offensive-zone shift early in the second period, and looked to be headed “north” before Matt Calvert stripped Brandon MacMillan of the puck.
Calvert moved the puck ahead to Vermette, who made the play to Johansen at the blue line. The kid’s silky finish on the backhand was the game-winning goal and undoubtedly the “momentum-shifter” in tonight’s win.
- Full credit goes to Mason for another stellar performance on home ice. Of his 19 stops, two in particular stand out: with the Ducks on a power play, he made a rebound stop on Corey Perry on the doorstep and flat-out robbed Koivu on a one-timer off the rush. Those two saves kept the Blue Jackets in the lead and ignited the building. In his last two games at Nationwide Arena, Mason is 2-0-0 with a 0.76 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage.
- The Blue Jackets are now 20-17-4 all-time against the Ducks, and with tonight’s victory hold a 11-9-1 edge at Nationwide Arena.
- James Wisniewski continues to make a huge impact on the Blue Jackets’ blue line. In his fourth game since returning from suspension, Wisniewski picked up two assists tonight – his first multi-point game as a Blue Jacket. Wisniewski also has assists in three-straight games. “Wiz” has played at least 27 minutes in all four games he’s played this season, including a game-high 27:58 tonight. He also had seven blocked shots for the second-consecutive game.
- Nash scored his fourth goal of the season in the first period. He is now two points shy of 500 for his NHL career as he has 263-235-498 in 604 career NHL games. He has collected 16-14-30 in 31 career games against the Ducks.
- Tyutin has goals in two of the past three games after scoring in the second period. The goals come after he went 14 games without a goal (Mar. 31, 2011 at Washington). He has recorded 2-2-4 the past five games after being held to 0-1-1 the first seven games of the season. He played in 27:26 of ice time, his sixth-straight game playing 25-plus minutes. In 15 career games against Anaheim, he has 3-8-11.
- Each of Johansen’s two career goals have been game-winners (tonight and Oct. 25 vs. Detroit).
vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com