3 Things: Blue Jackets Notch Huge Win Over Penguins Thanks To Key First Goal And A Monster Performance From Bobrovsky

By Dan Dukart on March 9, 2019 at 9:48 pm
Cam Atkinson celebrates after scoring a shorthanded goal at Nationwide Arena
Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

To say that was a big game for the Blue Jackets would be an undersell.

The Blue Jackets, in front of a capacity crowd, came up huge in a huge 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena. After losing eight straight games to the Penguins dating back to February 17, 2017, the home team started fast, scoring just 2:31 into the first period, and never looked back. 

Here are three things from tonight. 

Scoring First: Key

The Blue Jackets are a completely different team when they score first. No, really. With the win, they improve to 27-5-2 (!) when scoring the first goal of the game. Needless to say, Boone Jenner's opening goal off a sublime pass from Josh Anderson was a huge step for the Blue Jackets.

With just 14 games left in the regular season, the Blue Jackets should feel good about themselves when they're able to get on the board first. It completely changes how the skaters play, and getting a lead and playing with confidence is the way this team needs to play.

Bobrovsky: Back on the case

Sergei (Sergio?) Bobrovsky was excellent, stopping 28 of 29 shots against the Penguins, a team he's struggled to beat. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Penguins generated18 5v5 scoring chances and seven high-danger chances in the game. Bobrovsky was up to the task and made some key saves to keep the game 2-1 in favor of the Blue Jackets.

In notching his 29th win of the season, the Blue Jackets will continue to rely heavily on their Russian netminder to take this team to the playoffs. 

Let's Talk About The Offensive Depth

When the Blue Jackets went out and acquired Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel from Ottawa, this is the type of game they were envisioning. Cam Atkinson scored his 37th and 38th goals of the season, adding to his career high, and the top line with Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois were excellent all night. 

The aforementioned third line with Anderson, Jenner, and Nick Foligno has been effective as of late. Jenner was dynamic, who had several high-end scoring chances and was robbed by Matt Murray on what could have been a second goal. Anderson tallied his 100th point of his career and was a presence on virtually every shift.

The fourth line, with Brandon Dubinsky, Alexander Wennberg, and Riley Nash, was hardly utilized but is a serviceable line that is solid defensively.

But the second line's awakening, with Duchene, Dzingel, and Oliver Bjorkstrand, is the real story. Duchene played perhaps his best game as a member of the Blue Jackets, while Dzingel was more noticeable than he's been. The two of them combined for a beautiful insurance goal with Oliver Bjorkstrand capping it off. 

If the Blue Jackets can get Duchene, Dzingel, and Bjorkstrand to play with that consistency, this will be a hard team to match. When all four lines are playing the right way, there just aren't that many teams that can handle that level of depth for 60 minutes.

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