TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — If you asked anyone with the Blue Jackets (players, coaches, management) who they thought played a big role in Saturday night’s come-from-behind win over the Red Wings, they pretty much all said Oscar Dansk.
One year after a forgettable performance in Traverse City, Dansk started Columbus’ second game of the tournament and was a steady hand through what was a nightmare first period. The Blue Jackets surrendered two first-period goals, neither the fault of the goaltender, but it could have been worse if not for Dansk, who did well to make sure the deficit didn’t grow any larger.
Dansk made 23 saves over the final two periods, allowing the Blue Jackets to chip away and get themselves back in the game.
Josh Anderson and Markus Soberg scored 90 seconds apart in the second period to draw Columbus even at 2-2, but then Detroit regained the lead on a goal by Tomas Nosek at 5:01 of the third period.
And just when it seemed like the Red Wings might have control again, it all came unraveled for them and the Blue Jackets hit the gas pedal.
They scored three times on seven shots in the third period, the highlight being a mega-skilled goal from Marko Dano that put the game away with 2:53 left. Dano worked his way through two Detroit defensemen, nearly lost the puck in his feet, kicked to his stick and then fired a quick shot past Jake Paterson to make it a 5-3 lead.
Soberg and Peter Quenneville scored power play goals for the Blue Jackets, who had multiple power play tallies for the second straight game and took advantage of Red Wings penalty trouble.
Head coach Jared Bednar said the players talked things over after a sluggish start and made some quick fixes to their problems.
“We were standing still, not competing as hard as we should be,” Bednar said. “(We needed) way more energy, get more physical and control what we can control which is our work ethic and our effort. We certainly did that at the start of the second; we were able to chip away and stay with it and we ended up tying the game.
“I thought Oscar Dansk was unbelievable for us. He gave us a chance to recover for the second period.”
Other notes from tonight’s game:
- With another regulation win (2-0-0), the Blue Jackets are locked into the championship game on Tuesday night. Their opponent is currently TBD, but they still have one more group game to play and that’s Monday against St. Louis.
Dano has three goals in two games, but it’s not just the offense that’s drawn high praise from the Blue Jackets brass.
“He’s a pretty quiet guy, but I think he lets his play speak for itself,” Bednar said. “He was very strong on the puck in battles, when he was carrying it, making plays. He looked confident, relaxed and he looked real strong.”
Said Dano of his goal: “When I got the puck in the neutral zone, I just thought ‘I have to get the puck on the net’ and drive there, get a faceoff. It was a lucky bounce, but it was an important goal.”
Dano said he’s comfortable at any forward position, and tonight, he played some center after lining up on the wing against Minnesota on Friday.
- Another Jackets rookie with three goals thus far is big Josh Anderson, who was physical and ornery again. Bednar has been quite fond of his game so far and has tried to get him more ice time (power play) in both contests.
- TJ Tynan has been quite impressive through two games, making plays and playing bigger than his 5-foot-8 stature. He’s played some center and wing and has created chances from both positions.
- Soberg has quietly had a very good tournament, playing tonight with Tynan and Anderson on what might have been the Blue Jackets’ best line. His goal tied the game midway through the second period.
- Olivier LeBlanc had two assists in the game and his heads-up play from the right point made the go-ahead goal happen. He settled a bouncing puck near the line and fired a quick shot toward the net, and Anderson re-directed it past Anderson to make it 4-3.
- The Blue Jackets are off Sunday and will be back at Centre Ice Arena for practice on Monday prior to facing the Blues.