"Find a way," they say.
Easier said than done, right? The Blue Jackets have about half of their lineup playing well. Their goaltender is holding them in games and they're not scoring goals at the rate they expect. But they feel right at home in close games, and were locked in another tonight at Nationwide Arena.
Sergei Bobrovsky was far less busy than Mike Smith, who always plays his best games against the Blue Jackets (remember that 54-save laugher last season?) – but Bobrovsky made a few key stops to bail out his teammates.
Josh Anderson's eight goal of the season sealed it, but in the process, he helped a teammate out in a big way. More on that below.
What else can you say?
The guy wasn't tested a whole lot tonight but he kept a clean sheet. Again. For the second time in three starts, Bobrovsky didn't allow a goal and single-handedly widened the Blue Jackets' margin for error. If you give up zero, well, the math works in your favor.
He made 22 saves tonight for his second straight shutout at Nationwide Arena, which he also did on Mar. 2 and Mar. 7 of this year.
Foligno’s Skid Ends
Nick Foligno has probably heard enough.
His 12-game stretch without a point was the longest of his NHL career, and oddly uncommon for a player who still manages to chip in offensively even if the pucks aren't flying in off his stick. Foligno has been up and down, left and right, all over the Blue Jackets' lineup as John Tortorella tries to spark his captain.
In overtime, TJ Brodie's miscue behind the net found Foligno's stick, and he took a quick look to see Anderson open on the far side. A zip-pass to Anderson's tape, a quick shot, and the Blue Jackets got the extra point...and Foligno, thankfully, got *a* point. Perhaps this gets him going.
Jackets Hang Tough
The Blue Jackets are comfortable in tight games; they're 10-1-0 when leading after two periods (the only blip was that meltdown at Madison Square Garden). We've seen them in 2-0 games, 2-1 games, now a 1-0 game...it's all good by them. Their goaltender is a difference-maker than they're 7-1 in overtime and shootouts, after taking down a Flames team that was 5-0 beyond regulation.
Having Lukas Sedlak back in the lineup helps slot everyone in a better position.
Tortorella has shuffled his lines multiple times per game over the last few weeks, but with a healthy Sedlak back and stabilizing the middle of the ice, the hope is that the Blue Jackets can find some consistent combinations.
We didn't see much of him tonight; Sedlak played just under eight minutes (7:58) of 5-on-5 ice time, according to Natural Stat Trick, and his line with Tyler Motte and Jordan Schroeder got caved in by the Flames.
Another game, another example of how the Blue Jackets are giving themselves opportunities to score goals and stay in games. Yes, they're not scoring many goals right now – but they're controlling play, owning the scoring chances battle and keeping their opponents out of high-danger areas.
Columbus was a 54% CF team at 5-on-5 tonight and remained in the top-five in shot attempts percentage overall; the Blue Jackets are looking for an identity, according to Tortorella, but in at least one way they do have an identity. They regularly push play in the offensive zone and create scoring chances at a higher rate than their opponents, which is a recipe for success in the NHL.