The New Jersey Devils sure did want some vengeance from Thursday night, but that didn't matter all too much.
In an afternoon against one of the worst teams record-wise in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets flexed their muscles on a back-to-back and blanked the Devils in their home barn.
Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his second shutout in the past week, the first line for the Jackets continues to stay red-hot, all the while some questionable officiating took place.
Let's break it down in this afternoon's Three Things:
Bobrovsky Is Rolling
The "trade Bob" talks have quieted down a fair amount in the past couple of weeks, and justifiably so. Sergei Bobrovsky is continuing to reintroduce himself as one of the best goaltenders in the world after a shaky to the season.
Bobrovsky went 4-0 this past week, (including 5-0-1 in his past six games), which included two shutouts, a 1.00 goals against average, and a .970 save percentage. Before this afternoon, the Blue Jackets offense was sputtering and Bob was keeping them alive and well. He is the lifeline of this team.
First Line Makes A Statement
In a game where there weren't a lot of offensive chances (The Blue Jackets were outshot 39-20), Columbus' first line of Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin collectively yawned, rolled out of bed and racked up a couple of goals. Atkinson picked up his 23rd goal of the season, in just 36 games. He's on pace for a (pulls out iPhone calculator) more than 52-goal season. Give him credit, folks.
Panarin showed us once again that he's more than just a passer, he can put the puck in the net when needed, which today happened to be the dagger goal against the Devils (in the second period), which caused a goalie change.
To top it all off, this trio is a close-second as the most productive line in the NHL with a 63.0 GF%. This will surely pay dividends in the postseason.
NHL Referees Never Ceasing To Amaze
Yes, every sport has their time to complain about officiating. For the NBA, it's missed traveling calls. For the NFL, it's inconsistency with hit-to-the-head penalties. For the NHL, it's...nearly everything, all the time.
In tonight's edition, the Blue Jackets got the brunt of it. Artemi Panarin got hooked on a breakaway that did not result in a penalty shot. Now, it was a very close call, and there was a defender paired alongside of Panarin, but it was clear that he was obstructed of his shot and was not going to be impaired by the defender next to him.
Then, Seth Jones was called for a high-sticking in the second period, which was actually just a puck hitting the opponents' face rather than Jones' stick.
Lastly, Sergei Bobrovsky took an absolute beating throughout the game, and was given a call about half the time. He was elbowed by Kyle Palmieri in the first period (which was called), speared by Palmieri in the third period (with no call), and was slashed by near the end of the game by Brett Seney, but was himself called for embellishment. What a wild afternoon for the Russian star.
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