Fasten your seat belts and pull your lap bars into a safe position: the Blue Jackets' roller coaster ride was back at it tonight, but this time, it was a much better result.
Just 48 hours earlier, they were out-skated, out-worked and dominated by the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena in the first game back from their 10-day Canadian road trip. But they re-grouped and re-focused for a key game on home ice against a team that humbled them back on Nov. 19 at Rexall Place, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second period and - despite a couple of hiccups - finishing off a 4-2 win over the Oilers.
Though the Blue Jackets' penalty trouble (the Oilers had seven power plays in the game, four in the third period) was a focal point afterward, their penalty kill held serve until the latter stages of the third period. The Oilers didn't generate much on the man advantage despite more than a normal share of opportunities, and on the other side of the coin, the Blue Jackets' power play was red-hot and made Edmonton pay for its mistakes.
Ryan Johansen's team-leading ninth of the season opened the scoring at 7:50 of the first period, roofing a short-side shot over Oilers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who didn't make it past the second period. Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno scored power play goals in the second period, and Jack Skille added a really nice goal off the rush to essentially salt it away for the Blue Jackets.
Edmonton made it interesting in the third period thanks to a handful of power play chances. Sam Gagner banked one in off Sergei Bobrovsky just after a power play had expired, and Jordan Eberle wired his 10th goal of the season through traffc to cut the lead to 4-2 with 4:21 to go.
Todd Richards was pleased with not only the execution of the Blue Jackets' power play tonight, but more so that it scored a huge goal in the game (that ended up as the game-winner). Foligno's tally - a jam job in front of the net - made it 3-0 Columbus at 10:30 of the second period and made certain that they would capitalize on a barrage of Oilers penalties that resulted in a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage.
1. RYAN JOHANSEN (CBJ)
The Blue Jackets needed Johansen to help drive the bus tonight and he did so; his multi-point game (goal, assist) tied him for the club's scoring lead with James Wisniewski and he was a table-setter, too. Johansen won 11-of-17 face-offs (65 percent) and led all Blue Jackets with five shots on goal.
2. MATT CALVERT (CBJ)
Calvert's energy and physical play set the tone for the Blue Jackets very early in this game, and he set up Johansen's opening goal with a nice play behind the net. His cross-crease pass in the second period banked in off Anisimov to make it a 2-0 lead, and those were just the highlights of what was an involved game from No. 11.
3. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
Bobrovsky appeared to be on his way to a second shutout in three games after two periods tonight, but it wasn't meant to be. Nonetheless, he was terrific at times tonight and made some big stops when the Blue Jackets suffered the occasional breakdown in their own zone.
AT BOSTON BRUINS
SATURDAY, 7 PM