More of that, please.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are officially on a roll. Tonight's win over Montreal is their third in a row, with all coming in blowout fashion, and they are now (thanks to the ROW tiebreaker) in the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Let's dive right into tonight's Three Things.
Oliver Bjorkstrand was the first star of tonight’s game, and it was well-earned. The young Dane – he’s still just 23 years old – has really turned things around as of late, notching four goals in his last five games and looking comfortable in a bigger role.
After struggling to find his game for much of the season, he's finally showing why he's so highly regarded within the Blue Jackets organization, and hasn't hesitated to show off his lightning-quick release over the last few games. His first goal tonight came in a different fashion, though, as he deftly deflected a Seth Jones shot from the point, causing it to trickle through Carey Price's pads.
It wasn't a beautiful snipe like some of his other recent goals, but it counts all the same. The second one was a thing of beauty though, with a nice hat tip for Dean Kukan, who picked off a Habs pass and created an odd man rush, then put it right on Bjorkstrand's tape in close.
The (Un)usual Suspects
Beyond Bjorkstrand and Artemi Panarin's goals, the Blue Jackets got contributions from some really weird places in the lineup tonight.
Riley Nash, David Savard and Brandon Dubinsky had a combined 12 goals coming into tonight’s game. They all lit the lamp tonight. Dubinsky even assisted on Savard’s goal, giving him his first multi-point game since November.
Nash played what may have been his best game as a Blue Jacket, too, topping 13 minutes of ice time for the second game – and the fourth time this month – as John Tortorella is clearly becoming more comfortable rolling all four lines.
With Bjorkstrand heating up – and linemates Alexander Wennberg and Boone Jenner helping him in that regard – plus a competent fourth line, the Blue Jackets look to have four lines that can contribute for the first time in a while.
Andrew Shaw: Goon
The second period had one of the more infuriating and strange officiating decisions in recent memory, as Andrew Shaw’s threw an elbow at Adam McQuaid on a blindside hit.
Andrew Shaw got 2 minutes for interference for this... pic.twitter.com/uCr5Ht14TC— Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8) March 29, 2019
McQuaid did not return to the game.
Despite being a textbook elbowing major and a blatant headshot – the exact kind of hit that the NHL is trying to get out of the game – Shaw was only given a two-minute minor, rather than a five minute major. The Blue Jackets didn’t convert on the power play – at the time, they were down by one goal – and had they not gone supernova after that hit, that officiating decision could have haunted them.
Shaw will apparently have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety later this week, and could earn himself a suspension for the hit. That could give the Blue Jackets a slight leg up over the Habs in their playoff race, too.
John Tortorella chimed in with his thoughts on how the hearing should go after the game.
Torts on Shaw's interference/elbow to McQuaid's hit:— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) March 29, 2019
Suspendable. Ridiculously suspendable.#CBJ
Bonus: Matt Duchene's Hands are Filthy
On a night of many things, this deserved a special shoutout. Seriously, just watch this.
That's on the short list of the best passes the Blue Jackets have had all year, folks.
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