TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Josh Anderson got a piece ofAustin Madaisky’s flip-wrister from the point, just enough to change the direction and find the back of the net late in 3-on-3 overtime.
The puck took a sharp dip, hit the ice and skidded between the legs of Dallas Stars goaltender Philippe Desrosiers to give the Blue Jackets their third NHL Prospects Tournament victory in franchise history, and their first since 2006.
Fitting for Anderson, too, as he’d been one of the Blue Jackets’ most consistent forwards throughout the tournament and had a couple of chances earlier in the championship game. He had just come off the bench and found his way into the high slot, getting his stick on Madaisky’s waist-high floater to win the game.
And like their previous three wins this week, this one didn't come easy.
Dallas started the game with good pace and moved the puck quickly, forcing the Blue Jackets to match and at times, their game looked a little disrupted. But Oscar Dansk, who played particularly well in both of his starts, held it together through some bumps along the way and played an efficient game between the pipes.
Kerby Rychel opened the scoring in the first period, finding a backhand pass from TJ Tynan in front of the net and slipping it underneath the goaltender. Radek Faksa quickly tied it up for Dallas midway through the opening frame, and in the second period, the Stars pulled ahead 2-1 on a penalty shot goal from Brendan Ranford.
When Columbus needed a big goal, it looked to its big line of Dano-Wennberg-Bjorkstrand to chip in with a timely tally.
Wennberg, undetected in the slot, deftly tipped a point shot back toward the crease where Bjorkstrand crept in down the back side and slid it into the net to make it a 2-2 game.
"I think we got better with each game," Anderson said. "We really had to battle through (some fatigue) at the end there...we had a lot of good shifts and overtime and just rolled off the momentum."
- This was one of Rychel’s best games of the tournament, and he agreed. He felt more involved tonight both with the puck and without it, and had a real edge to his game right from the opening shift. He had some chemistry working with TJ Tynan as his center, as well.
"I was engaged...I felt pretty good," Rychel said. "This is big for all of us, pretty exciting."
- Dansk made 31 saves in what was a huge game for him entering training camp. The competition between he and Anton Forsberg for the Springfield starting job is on like Donkey Kong.
- Tonight’s game was no easy task for the Blue Jackets’ defense and they handled it well. The Stars have a big, imposing group of forwards and considerable skill to go with it, making them a tough matchup for any team. Larkin, LeBlanc, Siebenaler, Madaisky, Heatherington and Hope kept things relatively stable on the back end and gave Dansk a lot of clean looks.