Three Things: Strong Defensive Game Leads Blue Jackets Past Devils

By Paul Berthelot on December 20, 2018 at 9:55 pm
Cam Atkinson skates against Taylor Hall as the Columbus Blue Jackets take on the New Jersey Devils
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
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When you can’t score, the best alternative is to be really good defensively – and the Blue Jackets did just that tonight.

Strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and a great effort from the players in front of him held the Devils to just a single goal. The Jackets have allowed just one goal over their last two games and only four over their last three. It's no surprise that in those games they have picked up five of a possible six points.

With that in mind, here are the three things that stand out from tonight.

Pretty Little Passing

That first goal was something. The Jackets were in between line changes and had a trio of Nick Foligno, Anthony Duclair, and Pierre-Luc Dubois on the ice at forward. They were swarming the puck and every player was involved in the play, which led to a pretty-looking goal.

Anthony Duclair was all over the ice on that shift, taking shots and collecting rebounds. He was collected his own missed shot and got the puck to Jones, who had a shooting lane. Jones passed it to Dubois, who snapped a quick pass right to the stick of Nick Foligno, who had an easy tap-in for his sixth of the season.

Can you decline a penalty? Asking for a friend

The power play has been ugly lately, and while it was easier on the eyes tonight, the result was still the same, as they failed to score. Blue Jackets fans have dealt with two-plus years of power play mediocrity, and it's gotten to a point where the crowd is audibly frustrated whenever the team struggles on the man advantage.

Still, the Blue Jackets did score as the direct result of a penalty, as Cam Atkinson was awarded a penalty shot on a second-period breakaway and converted.

Given what we've seen of the power play lately, it isn't a stretch to say that the penalty shot call was far preferable to getting another power play. 

Stingy Defense

The Jackets offense hasn’t quite been there these last few games, having scored a combined four goals in their last three games. It hasn’t mattered, though, as they have gone 2-0-1 in those game thanks to some really strong defensive work.

They continued that stretch tonight, holding New Jersey to just five shots in the first period. Aside from the Devils' two breakaways (including Taylor Hall's goal), the Devils struggled to get good looks all night long. 

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