Three Things: Blue Jackets Go Up Early, but This Time, Hang on to Beat the Maple Leafs

By Paul Berthelot on November 23, 2018 at 10:26 pm
Cam Atkinson and Alexander Wennberg celebrate scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs

Jason Mowry -USA TODAY Sports

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The Columbus Blue Jackets, facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second game of a home and home, were not going to be denied this time. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Monday, the Blue Jackets cratered and fell 4-2. 

Tonight they again forged a two-goal lead and held on to defeat the Maple Leafs, 4-2 in front of a lively crowd at Nationwide Arena. 

Here are tonight's three things:


Good Ontario Kids

For most kids growing up in Ontario, the Leafs are their favorite team. Given that, it’s no surprise that the Blue Jackets Ontario-born players had strong games tonight. No one had a better game than Burlington native Josh Anderson; Anderson was snake-bitten in Monday’s game, failing to score despite taking six shots and 10 attempts. He was not to be denied tonight. He scored twice in the first period, with Dorchester native Boone Jenner and Kingston native Scott Harrington getting assists.

This line was absolutely deadly. They were creating a ton of pressure and chance after chance, making it a long night for the Leafs defense.

2-0 leads

For the second consecutive game, the Blue Jackets jumped out to an early two-goal lead. On Monday the Blue Jackets surrendered four unanswered goals, as the Leafs came back and won. Tonight the Blue Jackets had another first-period lead and again they gave it away.

This time, however, the Blue Jackets were able to bounce back and didn’t sink. Cam Atkinson scored a beauty shorthanded and Markus Hannikainen scored an insurance to regain the two goal-lead for Columbus. This is what good teams do; they don’t give up leads and if they do, they have the composure to stay with it and keep pushing.

Fourth Line Woes Continue

This was a thing last game and a thing again in this game. Markus Hannikainen, Riley Nash and Lukas Sedlak have been a problem. Chris wrote about the fourth line this week and Dan broke down their poor coverage on the game-winning goal from Monday. The Maple Leafs are a very good team and one of their strengths is their depth. Their top-end talent is some of the best in the league and it pushes good players down in the line-up. The Blue Jackets were supposed to have a team like that, but for various reasons it hasn’t happened. Nash hasn’t worked out like expected, Anthony Duclair has been so good he’s now a top-six mainstay and Sonny Milano is in Cleveland.

That was supposed to be the makings of a skilled fourth line. If the Jackets want to hang with the best teams in the league, they need to get their depth issues sorted out.

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