There's been a shift in this Blue Jackets team.
After a 12-6-0 start to the 2021-22 NHL season followed by an 8-16-1 patch, it looked like the Blue Jackets had determined their identity: a young, offensively-talented team with defensive issues.
That may very well still be their identity, but something's changed: they're winning.
Over their last ten games, they're 8-2-0. They've won six out of their last seven games after their most recent victory, a 4-3 overtime triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Let's get into three things from tonight's huge win.
Can't Stop Laine
The Blue Jackets go as Patrik Laine does. He had two goals tonight, including the game-winner in overtime. His first goal gave Maple Leafs netminder Jack Campbell no chance as Laine fired the puck over Campbell's glove into the corner of the net. Laine's overtime winner was created by Jakub Voracek, who used a burst of speed to draw two defenders and create a one-on-one for Laine against Auston Matthews. Laine used Matthews as a screen and fired a wrist shot that went through Matthews' legs and over Campbell's glove, giving the Blue Jackets a huge two points.
The Finnish winger now has a ten-game point streak in which he's tallied an absurd 12-8-20. It's no coincidence that the Blue Jackets' current run coincides with Laine's streak.
J-F Stands For "Just Fantastic"
The Blue Jackets are without Elvis Merzlikins, Joonas Korpisalo, and Daniil Tarasov due to injury.
No problem. They still have J-F Berube, who stopped 39 of 42 shots tonight against the high-powered Maple Leafs offense. With the Blue Jackets this season, Berube is 2-0-0 with a .923 save percentage and 3.00 GAA. Not bad for the 30-year-old, who hadn't played an NHL game since April 6th, 2018 prior to his start against Buffalo on Sunday.
Not only did Berube record the win tonight, but he also recorded his first NHL point, securing the only assist on Adam Boqvist's power-play goal that tied the game early in the third period.
The Blue Jackets Are Officially On A Hot Streak
The only team hotter than the Blue Jackets right now are the Calgary Flames, who are a perfect 10-0-0 in their last ten games. The Blue Jackets' 8-2-0 mark is the second-best in the NHL, and they're getting contributions across the board during the streak. Laine is the obvious name, but Brendan Gaunce has chipped in with 3-2-5 in his first seven games with the Blue Jackets. Berube has been phenomenal. Boone Jenner has 5-8-13 in his last ten games.
The Maple Leafs were 24-0-1 this season when leading after two periods, according to Mark Scheig. The Blue Jackets came two minutes and six seconds away from handing them their first regulation loss in that category, but they still gave them their second overtime loss all season when leading after two.