Locked in a 2-2 tie entering the third period, the Blue Jackets were clearly disinterested in a repeat of Thursday's third period at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
They had managed a major momentum swing earlier in the game and were still in a good position with 20 minutes to play, down two forwards (with Marian Gaborik and Matt Calvert injured in the course of play) with a loud, vibrant home crowd on their side at Nationwide Arena. And they put together one of their best third periods of the season, scoring four goals in the final frame to pull away from the Flyers in a 6-3 victory.
Ryan Johansen, who admitted he played one of his worst games in a long time on Thursday, rebounded with a two-goal performance to lead the way for Columbus. He opened the scoring 10:43 into the opening period on a snap shot under the crossbar, his 13th goal of the season set up by a nifty pass behind the net from Nick Foligno. The Blue Jackets held that 1-0 lead into the second period when RJ Umberger's power play goal made it 2-0, and a few minutes later, they thought their lead had widened...but in reality, the game took a major tit back the other direction.
At the tail end of a Flyers power play, Brandon Dubinsky took off on a shorthanded rush with Artem Anisimov and ripped a hard wrist shot off the crossbar. The crowd, the goal judge and both teams seemed to think the puck went in, but the Flyers embarked on a rush down the other way and scored the 2-1 goal.
Sean Couturier tied the game 20 seconds later on a rush started in the Flyers' zone, setting up for another high-stakes third period between the two division rivals. This time, the Blue Jackets would get the last word.
After playing a game full of wild momentum swings two nights earlier, the Blue Jackets managed a potentially hazardous situation with aplomb tonight. The Dubinsky crossbar/Simmonds goal sequence could have been a real stunner for the Blue Jackets, and it's probably for the best that it happened late in the period and allowed them to re-group in the locker room. Columbus' emphatic response in the final stanza was the appropriate response to both the Flyers' second-period push and the disappointment of their last third period, as well.
1. RYAN JOHANSEN (CBJ)
Two more goals for Johansen tonight in a big divisional game, and he also played nearly 20 minutes (19:53) in the victory. Johansen rebounded with a big effort in the circle, winning 14-of-24 face-offs (54 percent).
2. RJ UMBERGER (CBJ)
A big game for Umberger tonight against his former club, and he capped the scoring with a strong-willed empty netter with 1:17 to go. As the Blue Jackets lose forwards, this guy keeps playing better and better and his two goals tonight give him 10 on the season.
3. DAVID SAVARD (CBJ)
With injuries on the back end, Savard has been given more responsibility and he's played a solid, physical game. He logged 15 minutes tonight alongside Nikitin and that pairing played a key role in the Jackets' two biggest goals of the game.
AT CAROLINA HURRICANES
MONDAY, 7 P.M.