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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 1, PHI 0

Bobrovsky earns fourth shutout this month

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets remain the only team in the NHL not to have three consecutive losses this season as they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 in a Saturday matinee in front of 19,052 fans.

With the win, the Jackets take over second place in the Metro Division from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two teams are tied in standing points (103) but the Blue Jackets lead in regulation and overtime wins (46).

Sergei Bobrovsky was once again excellent. The goaltender turned away all 36 shots he faced for his fourth shutout in the month of March, and seventh this season.

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The only goal of the game came 13:11 into the second period when Alexander Wennberg scored his 13th of the season in his 13th game since his last goal on Feb. 26. Wennberg tipped in a Kyle Quincey shot from the right circle to make it 1-0. With the primary assist, Quincey earned his first point as a Blue Jacket.

While the Jackets were outshot 36-21 and know they want to play better, they are happy to find just one more way to win as they get closer and closer to the post-season and the demands those games will bring.

"Our motto is to win 1-0 every game," Scott Hartnell said. "You want to be tight checking, and obviously it's fun scoring goals, but we have to be comfortable in these situations. This is playoff hockey that we played in tonight. Everyone thrived in it, everyone got better as the game went along, I think. It was a big battle out there for us. We bent but we didn't break. We've been solid that way all year."

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Game Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Flyers

Jackets celebrate 5th Line Appreciation Day at Nationwide Arena

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

GAME 74: BLUE JACKETS VS. FLYERS

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 2:00 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM

The Jackets are back at Nationwide Arena Saturday for the first of two home games in a row as they welcome the Philadelphia Flyers for a matinee matchup.

The game is the third of six that the Jackets play in a ten-day span to finish up the month of March. It's an important opportunity for the home team to respond after losing their last two games to Toronto and Washington.

The Jackets have lost two games in a row just five times this season, and they remain the only team in the NHL yet to lose three consecutive matchups.

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Craig invested in Monsters' success

Cleveland captain helping young team achieve their goals

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

There are many players to know on the Cleveland Monsters roster. But one name you should know for sure is that of team captain, Ryan Craig.

"He's a good leader," Oliver Bjorkstrand said. "He knows what to say to the guys and how to keep a team together. He's a huge part of the team if he plays 17 minutes or seven minutes He's going to help out the way he can. He has always proved that. He helps the team a lot."

Craig is no stranger to leading a team. He captained his WHL team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, and was the leader of the Pittsburgh Penguins' AHL team before joining the Jackets organization in 2012, where he was named captain in his first year and has held the title ever since.

This season Craig has nine goals and six assists in 58 games played. He works to produce on the ice - providing the game-winning goal against Chicago on Tuesday - but perhaps more impressive is what he brings to his team off the ice working with his teammates.

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What We Learned: WSH 2, CBJ 1 (SO)

Jackets get a point in defensive battle against top-ranked Washington

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The Jackets went to Washington to face off against the Capitals Thursday night and vie for first place in the League. They came away with a point, in a 2-1 shootout loss.

With the victory, Washington remains in first place with 104 points. Pittsburgh sits two points behind in second with 102 points, and the Jackets hold the third position with 101 points. All three teams have nine regular season games left on the schedule.

Tonight's game was scoreless in the first 40 minutes, and the Jackets survived a middle frame in which they gave Washington three power play opportunities before Seth Jones scored 41 seconds into the final frame.

Brandon Dubinsky fired a shot down low that rang off the goal post, but it challenged Braden Holtby to try to make a save and move low. Jones capitalized on the rebound from the right circle.

Washington tied it five minutes later but that was it for scoring through regulation and overtime before a shootout rendered the final decision on the game.

Cam Atkinson, Sam Gagner and Alexander Wennberg shot for the Jackets in the skills competition but none could solve Holtby. T.J. Oshie had the lone shootout score to give the Capitals the win.

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Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals

Jackets battle Capitals for Presidents' Trophy in D.C.

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

GAME 73: BLUE JACKETS VS. CAPITALS

VERIZON CENTER, 7:00 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM

"One day at a time" has been the Jackets' mantra all season. But Thursday might be one day that has a bit more of a spotlight on it.

After losing to Toronto 5-2 on Wednesday, the Jackets currently sit at third place in the NHL and third in the Metro Division with 100 points. Ahead of them are the Pittsburgh Penguins with a one point lead on the Jackets, and in first, the Capitals with 102 points on the season.

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The effect of the two points that can be gained Thursday will be significant for the team that takes them. A Jackets win means that they are potentially once again tied with the Capitals in the standings. It also helps their case in any potential tie-breaking scenario related to head-to-head matchups between the two teams down the road.

On the other hand, a Jackets loss puts a possible four-point gap between the two teams with just nine games left to play in the regular season, when making up ground becomes more difficult than ever.

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What We Learned: TOR 5, CBJ 2

Jackets fail to finish comeback against Toronto

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

Both games between the Jackets and the Maple Leafs this season have ended in a score of 5-2. The Jackets won the first match in February but found themselves on the losing end Wednesday in a game where the home team wasn't as opportunistic as they needed to be.

The Leafs built up a 2-0 lead in a physical first period before the Jackets found a way to answer in the second. Just a minute into the middle frame, Brandon Dubinsky fed David Savard with a pass from behind the net that the defenseman converted from the right circle for the Jackets' first goal of the night.

Brandon Saad notched the tying goal just over five minutes later when he deflected a Zach Werenski shot from the blue line to make it 2-2. But before the period was over, Toronto would retake the lead 3-2 off a William Nylander breakaway.

In the final period it was bad news after bad news. Oliver Bjorkstrand went down after being boarded by Roman Polak, and the Jackets couldn't convert the resulting 5-plus minutes of power play time that came as a result.

Bjorkstrand did not return to the game.

The Leafs added two more goals in the final five minutes, one into an empty net, to set the final score and hand the Jackets their first loss in five straight games.

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Game Preview: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs

The race for the Presidents' Trophy continues Wednesday at Nationwide Arena

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

GAME 72: BLUE JACKETS VS. MAPLE LEAFS

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7:00 P.M.

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM

The Blue Jackets may have secured a playoff spot, but there are still games to be played and points to be gained.

The next opportunity to do just that comes Wednesday when the Jackets welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Nationwide Arena for the second time this season. The last time these two teams met, Toronto was coming into town off a back-to-back, and the Jackets won 5-2.

This time, the game marks the opening matchup of a back-to-back for the Jackets. It is also the first of six games the home team will play in the next ten days. 

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Jackets sign three to two-year contract extensions

Sedlak, Hannikainen, Harrington each signed to two-year deals

by BlueJackets.com Staff @BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed center Lukas Sedlak, defenseman Scott Harrington and left wing Markus Hannikainen to two-year contract extensions through the 2018-19 National Hockey League season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Sedlak, 23, has notched seven goals and six assists for 13 points with 23 penalty minutes and a +10 plus/minus rating in 56 games with the Blue Jackets this season. He leads club rookies in penalty minutes and ranks second in goals, assists, points and plus/minus. He made his NHL debut on October 21 vs. Chicago, picked up his first NHL point (assist) on October 27 at San Jose and notched his first NHL goal and multi-point game (1-1-2) on December 9 at Detroit. 

The Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic native tallied 14-4-18 in 54 regular season games with the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters in 2015-16 before adding 9-7-16 in 17 postseason games to help the club capture the Calder Cup. Columbus' sixth round pick, 158th overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, he has recorded 28-20-48 with 83 penalty minutes in 159 career AHL games with the Monsters and Springfield Falcons.

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The March Is On: A rookie's perspective

Josh Anderson brings championship experience to the Stanley Cup Playoffs

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets are officially on the road to the post-season having clinched a playoff spot with Sunday's 4-1 win over New Jersey. For a few guys on the roster, a run for the Stanley Cup is a new experience. One of those is Josh Anderson.

But Anderson is not unfamiliar with championships. While with the London Knights, he was part of two Ontario Hockey League Championship winning teams, and he played for the Memorial Cup during his three years in the Canadian Hockey League.

And of course, Anderson was part of the 2016 AHL Champion Lake Erie Monsters squad along with teammates Oliver Bjorkstrand, Lukas Sedlak, and Joonas Korpisalo.

Now, with the NHL playoffs a certainty, those other post-season experiences become something to draw from.

"In the Calder Cup playoffs, we had that first series against Rockford," Anderson said. "We were up and down in the regular season against them, and they were just a total different team in playoffs, everybody is. It's just exciting."

That doesn't mean that there aren't still new things happening around this Jackets squad for the rookie to experience. Coming to the rink there's a buzz in the air, everyone is talking about the playoffs.

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Practice Notebook: March 21

Jackets get ready for critical Metropolitan back-to-back

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets have a healthy forward group and a position secured in the NHL playoffs. That affords head coach John Tortorella the unique opportunity to work with his line combinations in the 11 remaining games to find the best lineup possible going into the post-season.

"We've been a top six and then a six where I'm not sure which was the third and fourth line as you've gone through each night," Tortorella said. "I don't know what the best lineup going into the playoffs is right now and that's a good thing. I think with additions and improved play of a number of people it allows me to see what the best lineup is without overthinking it."

While the forward lines have been tweaked here and there throughout the year, the team showed its most significant changes to date in this weekend's back-to-back games against the Islanders and New Jersey Devils.

Alexander Wennberg centered a line with Nick Foligno and Oliver Bjorkstrand on the wings. Sam Gagner played between Brandon Saad and Cam Atkinson. And Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner saw Josh Anderson join their line, with William Karlsson playing with Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell.

Wennberg was held out of Sunday's game as a precaution and that moved the lines around a bit more.

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