The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of NHL history.
They are now alone in second place all-time for most consecutive wins after securing a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. The win gave the Blue Jackets their 16th straight win overall and eighth straight win at Nationwide Arena. The win also broke the Oilers’ seven-game point streak.
The difference in this one was special teams. Just like their first meeting, the Blue Jackets scored two power play goals, while not allowing any to the high-powered Oilers. In the season series, the Blue Jackets went 4 for 8 with the man advantage. They continue to lead the league in power play efficiency with a ridiculous 30 goals in 106 chances, a conversion percentage of 28.3%. Anaheim is the next closest at 24%.
The game started out slowly for both teams. There wasn’t much in the way of scoring chances. Then, as has been the norm for the Blue Jackets, their power play got their chance. They broke the ice thanks to some fortunate bounces.
Alexander Wennberg dished the puck to Zach Werenski at center point. Werenski then hit a wide open Cam Atkinson on the left side. Atkinson one touches the puck toward the net. The puck deflects off BOTH Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera and into a wide open net. This made it 1-0 Blue Jackets and enabled them to activate squeeze mode.
The Oilers couldn’t generate much of anything for the rest of the period. They only mustered four shots. The Blue Jackets dominated puck possession. The Oilers stars couldn’t get a sniff. It was an effective and methodical period for Columbus that saw them lead 12-4 on the shot clock.
The Oilers got some life to start the second period thanks to a beautiful passing play created by Jordan Eberle. Eberle entered the Blue Jackets zone and made a nice backhand pass to Patrick Maroon on the right-wing. It was 3-on-3 entering the zone. Oscar Klefbom beat the other two Blue Jackets to the slot and Maroon hit him with a beautiful centering pass. Klefbom beat Sergei Bobrovsky’s five-hole to tie the game. The Oilers seemed to generate momentum after the goal. Then fight night broke out.
Maroon checked Brandon Dubinsky with a clean hit along the boards. Dubinsky took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with him. The Blue Jackets were a little flat in the period before the fight. This woke the bench up. Then about a minute later, the Oilers took another penalty. Like the first time, they paid the price.
This time, William Karlsson, who was on the second power play unit thanks to Dubinsky’s fighting major, received a beautiful Brandon Saad cross-ice pass. Karlsson one-timed it home to make it a 2-1 game. That was Karlsson’s first career power play goal that allowed the Blue Jackets to squeeze the life out of the Oilers again. Edmonton only had 12 shots after 40 minutes. Columbus had 25.
Trailing the Blue Jackets by one this season has proven difficult to overcome. Trailing them by two or more has proven to be a death sentence. Nick Foligno made it a two-goal game thanks to a gifted turnover by Benoit Pouliot just 2:45 into the period.
Pouliot tried a cross-ice pass in his own zone to no one in particular. Foligno was in the right spot and had plenty of time to beat Cam Talbot over his left shoulder. That was Foligno’s 13th goal of the season. He had 12 goals in 72 games last season.
Although the Oilers were able to get 10 shots in the third period, they couldn’t beat the NHL’s number-one star of the month, Bobrovsky. He finished with 21 saves on 22 shots to earn his league-leading 25th win. Bobrovsky is on a personal 14-game winning streak which is tied for the second-longest goalie winning streak in NHL history. Boston’s Gillies Gilbert won 17 straight in the 1975-76 season.
CBJ – Cam Atkinson (18) assisted by Zach Werenski and Alexander Wennberg
EDM – Oscar Klefbom (6) assisted by Patrick Maroon and Jordan Eberle
CBJ – William Karlsson (6) assisted by Brandon Saad and Seth Jones
CBJ – Nick Foligno (13) unassisted
THW Three Stars
First: William Karlsson (game-winning goal)
Second: Seth Jones (assist, overall defensive play)
Third: Nick Foligno (goal)
Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center, 7:00 PM EST on Thursday, Jan. 5
TV Broadcast Channels: Fox Sports Ohio/Fox Sports Go and CSN Washington
2016-17 Meeting: Blue Jackets defeated Capitals 2-1 in overtime on Nov. 15
Blue Jackets defeated Capitals 3-2 on Nov. 20
Edmonton Oilers at Boston Bruins
TD Garden, 5:00 PM MST on Thursday, Jan. 5
TV Broadcast Channels: Sportsnet West and NESN
2016-17 Meeting: First meeting of season