BUFFALO, NY -- Sometimes, it's best to revert to the old adage: they don't ask "how." They ask "how many."
It certainly applied to the Blue Jackets' gutty and occasionally white-knuckle shootout victory tonight in Buffalo. They were not at their best, they were prone to some mistakes along the way, but when all was said and done, they found a way to get two points and continue rolling. Tonight's victory was their sixth in a row - tying a franchise record - and moved them into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
And they would not have gotten there without their goaltender.
Sergei Bobrovsky, starting his second game in as many nights, was marvelous tonight at First Niagara Center. He was under siege early but the Blue Jackets steadied as the first period progressed, and fought back with two timely goals to go into the first intermission tied up 2-2. Bobrovsky made 26 saves in regulation and overtime but was spectacular in the shootout (he's 3-0 in the shootout this season), stopping all three Sabres shooters to pick up two huge points.
The Blue Jackets took a lead into the third period and made it hold up for 59 minutes and 35 seconds. They took a late penalty (Savard, tripping) and gave Buffalo a prime chance to force overtime - and the Sabres did just that. It was Myers again, pinching in and ripping a shot short-side on Bobrovsky with 29.4 seconds to go. On to overtime we went.
Both teams traded chances and the Blue Jackets had the better possession time, but neither side could get the winner in overtime. After Bobrovsky stopped all three Sabres, it was Ryan Johansen's turn to end the game...and he nearly ran out of room.
One deke, two deke, three, back to his forehand. "I honestly thought I was out of options," he said post-game. But he had just enough room to shelf the game-winning goal over Ryan Miller.
Dubinsky's power play goal in the second period gave the Blue Jackets their first lead of the game, and it came at just the right time. They didn't play their best in the middle frame but capitalized on a power play chance that put them in the driver's seat.
1. BRANDON DUBINSKY (CBJ)
No surprise here, but his line was the spark tonight for Columbus. They got things rolling with some long shifts in the Sabres' end, funneled pucks to the net and caused havoc in front of Miller. Dubinsky was rewarded with a multi-point night (goal, assist).
2. RYAN JOHANSEN (CBJ)
He didn't factor on the scoresheet tonight (until scoring the shootout winner), but Johansen anchored one of the best lines in the game. He played nearly 18 minutes and was credited with four shots on goal.
3. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
Making back-to-back starts is no easy task - especially just coming off an injury - but Bobrovsky gave the Blue Jackets a chance tonight. His three stops in the shootout were as clutch as it gets.
VS. LOS ANGELES KINGS
TUESDAY, 7 P.M.
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