Three Things: Blue Jackets Overcome Obstacles Against Defending Stanley Cup Champions

By Dan Dukart on November 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm
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Exhale, Blue Jackets fans. After a game that featured an incredible atmosphere and a Vezina-esque performance by Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets defeated the Washington Capitals by a 2-1 score.

What's more? The Blue Jackets go to bed leading the Metropolitan Division in points, with 19 points in 16 games (9-6-1). Here are there three key takeaways from last night.

Vintage Bobrovsky

Blue Jackets fans are well aware of how dominant Sergei Bobrovsky can be, but a reminder never hurts. Goalie Bob wasn't good - he was elite.

For the fourth time in five games, the star Russian has allowed just puck past him in each game, and posted a .950% sv% or better in all four of those games. He made some ridiculous saves, and looked the part of a Vezina goalie the whole way through.

As Bob goes, the Blue Jackets go. It's as simple as that.

Elite Special Teams?

The Blue Jackets scored two goals - and both of them were on the power play. 

Pinch yourself, reader, for this is not a dream. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Anthony Duclair scored power play goals as the club went 2/3 on the power play. 

The power play was effective on all three chances. A consistent power play could propel this team in a big way. Duclair's seventh goal of the season ties him for the team lead with Josh Anderson. Meanwhile, their penalty kill was no slouch. The Capitals, who led the NHL in power play conversion rate going into the game, scored, but the Blue Jackets limited the damage to 1/5. 

Is it ideal? No. But against the Capitals, it's as good as you can really ask for. The penalty kill deserves as much credit - if not more - for the effort put in by the penalty killing units. To say the Blue Jackets won the game is to say that they won the special teams battle, and vice versa.

Zach Werenski Demoted

This is new territory for Zach Werenski. In the first 14 games of this season, Werenski hadn't played less than 20 minutes, and only once had played less than 21 minutes. But against Dallas, he struggled, and played just 18:41.

John Tortorella switched up the defense pairing, dropping Werenski from the top pairing with Seth Jones to the third pairing with Scott Harrington. The 21-year old played a season low 13:21, and is clearly in John Tortorella's doghouse. Playing less than 10 minutes of 5v5 hockey is unchartered waters for young Werenski, who, injury aside, has rarely (ever?) had his ice time severely reduced at the NHL level. 

Perhaps playing away from Seth Jones will spark his game, and allow the Blue Jackets to play two dominant defensemen for large portions of every game. If not, it's a wake-up call for a player who, frankly, hasn't had many wake up calls in his young career. 

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