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dangerous top line that s been producingin ECBRO UPDATES Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:50 am
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The Blue Jackets restored their defensive structure, played a little smarter and started a two game road trip with a big win Tuesday in Dallas.
Now https://www.clbbluejacketsfans.com/brandon-dubinsky-jersey-c-20.html, the trick is doing it again Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche, a team that is 3 1 0 in the first four games of a season high, six game homestand. The Avs are also 6 3 1 overall in their past 10 games, and have made up a lot of ground in their chase for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
It s another stout road challenge for Columbus, which will again look to limit the opponents scoring chances even if it comes at the costs of lowering their own a notch.
This is part of playing the game the right way, Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said after practice Wednesday. This isn t something that we developed into a new way of playing. This is part of playing defense. It s just bringing more awareness to our play away from the puck. So, it s not tricky. It s a matter of being businesslike and understanding just being smarter in certain situations in the game.
It s a slight change, however, from the style the Blue Jackets would prefer to play, which more aptly fits the Safe Is Death mantra that s on a sign that used to hang inside their locker room. Tortorella removed that sign Monday, prior to departing for Dallas, because the current roster situation is no longer conducive to playing that style.
Columbus still has four key players on injured reserve, with three forwards each out four to six weeks with various injuries. Two of them, Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg, are centers. The third is Cam Atkinson, who s led the Blue Jackets in scoring the past two seasons and plays on both special teams units.
Also missing is defenseman Ryan Murray upper body , who s on the trip but has missed more than a month. Murray doesn t have a defined timeline for his return, either.
The void they ve left behind is large, and has placed more onus on the Blue Jackets to make wiser decisions about when to jump into rush attacks seeking offense. Defensemen need to make better reads, while forwards need to realize when they need to stay back to cover for pinching defensemen.
They did it a good job of it Tuesday in Dallas, and also showed some resolve that wasn t there Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay scored four straight goals to start the second period on New Year s Eve at Nationwide Arena, and won 5 0 in the third straight defeat for Columbus.
The Stars attempted to do the same thing, but couldn t.
The beginning of the second period [against Dallas], we didn t get out of our end zone clean when we could ve, and we got into a little bit of trouble, Tortorella said. [Sergei Bobrovsky] made a couple of great saves at that juncture of the game, but then we settled ourselves down and got back to the way we should play. That s what was really encouraging for me, to see us lose it again, a little bit, but get it back.
2017 18 Season 0 0 0 . This is the first of two games this season. The Blue Jackets will host the Avalanche in the finale on Mar. 8 at Nationwide Arena.
All time W L T O 17 32 1 5 overall; 9 17 0 2 at Pepsi Center
The teams split the two games, with each winning by 3 2 margins in the other s arena. The Avalanche topped the Blue Jackets on Nov. 21, 2016 in overtime at Nationwide Arena, and Columbus won in the finale Dec. 1, 2016 at Pepsi Center.
Cam Atkinson had three points two goals, one assist , and the Blue Jackets also had goals from Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner. Defensemen Erik Johnson one goal, two assists and Tyson Barrie one goal, one assist led the Avalanche.
WHO S HOT
Blue Jackets Defenseman Seth Jones assisted on Oliver Bjorkstrand s game winning goal Tuesday against the Stars for his 24th point seven goals , 17 assists . Jones has nine points four goals https://www.clbbluejacketsfans.com/pierreluc-dubois-jersey-c-19.html, five assists in the past 10 games. Bjorkstrand scored both goals against Dallas for his second two goal game of the season and third of his career.
Avalanche Right wing Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists Tuesday against the Jets, and has tallied points in 12 of the past 15 games for Colorado. He has 16 points six goals, 10 assists in that span.
EYES ON THE BLUE JACKETS
Columbus held a short, crisp practice Wednesday at a facility in Farmer s Branch, Texas, a Dallas suburb. No line rushes or defense pairings were skated during the workout, which focused primarily on skill drills and speed work. Murray didn t skate, but got in some conditioning work at American Airlines Center while the team practiced. That was also the case for defenseman Scott Harrington.
The Blue Jackets reassigned defenseman Dean Kukan and forward Zac Dalpe on Wednesday to the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Kukan was a healthy scratch in four games prior to being assigned. He was then recalled again Wednesday afternoon. Dalpe was added as an emergency recall Monday https://www.clbbluejacketsfans.com/nick-foligno-jersey-c-18.html, prior to the Blue Jackets leaving for Dallas. He practiced Monday, but was a healthy scratch against the Stars.
Bobrovsky s victory against Dallas made him the 88th goalie and fourth Russian netminder in NHL history to win 200 games. Ahead of him are Evgeni Nabakov 353 , Nikolai Khabibulin 333 and Ilya Bryzgalov 221 . Bobrovsky, who d been a little off in recent start, looked sharp in making 21 saves against the Stars. He s expected to start against the Avalanche.
EYES ON THE AVALANCHE
Varlamov started Tuesday against the Jets stopped all 21 shots he faced, but sustained a lower body injury and left the game with 5 45 left in the second period. Jonathan Bernier came in cold off the bench and made 21 saves on 23 shots to earn the win. Bernier is expected to start against the Blue Jackets.
The Avs allowed one power play goal in four times shorthanded against Winnipeg, which ended their streak of 36 straight successful penalty kills. That was the second longest streak in franchise history, behind 43 straight successful kills in October 1996. In terms of games, Colorado hadn t allowed a power play goal in its previous 11 contests, which set a new mark for longest in franchise history. The Avs have allowed just five power play goals on home ice this season 62 for 67 , succeeding in 92.5 percent of their times shorthanded.
The Blue Jackets will face another Josh Anderson Jersey dangerous top line that s been producing a lot of offense layely. Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have combined for 18 points seven goals, 11 assists in the first four games of Colorado s homestand. Rantanen s goal and two assists was his third three point game of the season, while MacKinnon s two points goal and assist was his 15th multi point game. That matches his career high for one season 2013 14 . MacKinnon has 48 points, which ranks him fifth in the NHL in scoring, and 36 of those points have happened at Pepsi Center.