BOSTON - After a pair of rather sluggish exhibition games yesterday, the pace was noticeably higher tonight at TD Garden.
The Blue Jackets, after two days of intense testing and skating workouts, were playing their third preseason game in two days, which gave John Tortorella an opportunity to see some guys he hadn't seen yet, and also to see some players who he wanted to see again.
One of those guys was Sam Gagner, who continued his strong preseason tonight.
Gagner assisted on Daniel Zaar's first goal of the preseason in the second period, then scored a slick shootout goal in the third round to break a 2-2 tie and give Columbus its first win (1-2-0).
The assist gives him four points in two games after a three-point outing in St. Louis yesterday.
"We tried (Gagner) in a lot of different spots on the power play tonight. We're trying to give him as many offensive looks as we can," Tortorella said post-game. "He's got a presence about him…I don't think he panics, no matter what zone he's in."
On the other side, Curtis McElhinney did his part between the pipes in his first turn of the season.
McElhinney finished with 29 saves in regulation and overtime, and got some assistance from the goal posts in the shootout, to pick up the win.
Sonny Milano opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets, scoring on a sneaky short-side wrist shot off the rush that seemed to surprise Anton Khudobin, who played two periods in goal for Boston.