Three Things: Blue Jackets Losing Streak Hits Four As Winnipeg Gets Late Break in 4-3 Win

By Paul Berthelot on January 31, 2019 at 11:25 pm
Oliver Bjorkstrand Artemi Panarin Seth Jones and Mark Letestu celebrate with Josh Anderson after his first period goal in Winnipeg.
Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On a day in which it was -6º F on the streets of Winnipeg, it was hot on the Blue Jackets' bench after a questionable whistle flipped momentum late to hand the Jets a 4-3 win over Columbus.

Things started poorly for the Jackets as Cam Atkinson took a puck to the face in warmups and was unable to play. Just like that, Columbus was swapping out the team's best goal scorer for Mark Letustu.

Still, it was a game the Blue Jackets had a chance to win.

Here are tonight’s three things.

Top Line Josh is Good™

Entering tonight with just a single goal since Jan. 5, Josh Anderson was slumping. With Atkinson's injury, Anderson stepped into the top line alongside Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois and made the most of it.

His first period goal – his 16th of the season – gave the Blue Jackets their first lead of the game and his four shots were tied for second on the team. His speed was evident, and he was hard on the fore-check.

When Jets coach Paul Maurice referred to the Blue Jackerts' style of play as that of a Western Conference team, Anderson had to have been one of the players in his thoughts.

John Tortorella agreed, saying “Josh played a good game. Yeah, he played hard. He played well.”

Anderson has become the player we all thought Kerby Rychel was going to be.

Werenski rule rears its ugly head

Blowing a play dead will always be a sore spot for the Blue Jackets, thanks to an infamous no-whistle after Zach Werenski was hit in the face in the playoffs two years ago against the Penguins that promptly led to a Pens goal.

Thursday night, the Blue Jackets got boned in the other direction.

With the Blue Jackets on a key third period power play and Jet Brandon Tanev stick-less in his own zone, a Werenski shot hit Tanev's back sending him immediately to the ice, face down.

Winnipeg got the whistle and the stop in play as Tanev bounced up immediately, injury free.

Replays showed the shot hit Tanev in the back and John Tortorella reacted in kind.

Penalty Kill is Human, After All

The power play has received all of the attention as far as special teams play is concerned. It’s been dreadful for so long and now with Martin St. Louis on board it is finally starting to show signs of life. The Blue Jackets scored another power play goal tonight, their third consecutive game with a power play marker and their seventh power play goal over their last eight games.

Is this real life?

With all the focus on the power play the Blue Jackets superb penalty kill has seemingly gone under the radar.

Entering the game tonight, the Blue Jackets' penalty kill was tied for sixth in the NHL at 83.2% and the team was sitting on a streak of 27-straight kills before Winnipeg's Jack Roslovic's game-winner earned the distinction of becoming the first power play goal Columbus has surrendered in 2019.

It's worth noting that the blue Jackets were without Atkinson and Boone Jenner Thursday night, two of the team's better penalty killers.

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