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Down the rink: Columbus Blue Jackets recap – Week 4

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky makes a save against the Sabres on Oct. 25 at Nationwide Arena. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

The Columbus Blue Jackets (7-4-0) won its final two games of a four-game home stand and lost on the road to complete a 2-1 fourth week of the NHL season.

Columbus took care of the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night on national television, 5-1, with goals from five different players. The scoring wasn’t as immediate as Wednesday’s matchup against Winnipeg at home Friday, but a late goal by Cam Atkinson in the third period and a score from Josh Anderson in overtime completed the come-from-behind victory.

Joonas Korpisalo got the start in net Saturday against the Blues, allowing four goals on 42 shots in a 4-1 loss in St. Louis.

Here are some headlines from the fourth week of the Blue Jackets’ season.

The power play is a problem

The difficulty the Blue Jackets are having on the power play was noted in last week’s recap. Columbus has had the worst power play since Jan. 5 of last year, and it certainly manifested itself this week.

The Jackets were 0-for-4 with an extra skater against Winnipeg and 0-for-2 against St. Louis. Now, they did send home one power-play goal against the Sabres, but the Jackets had control of that game from nearly start to finish. On Friday and Saturday, Columbus never led in regulation.

Right wing Cam Atkinson said Friday after the game against Winnipeg that the team will have to find a remedy moving forward.

“We’re all skilled and I think we just have to simplify, instead of being a power play that only has a couple things … they obviously know [Panarin] is a very dangerous player, so they’re going to take that away,” Atkinson said. “We need to find a way to break them down and capitalize on [chances] when they’re broken up.”

Penalty kill on top of its game

Until the power play figures out a working formula, the penalty kill is keeping the team in games. The best example was Friday when the Jackets couldn’t muster anything offensively and committed penalty after penalty in 5-on-5. The penalty kill was 6-for-6 and could have been argued as the first star of the game.

“I thought [the penalty kill] gave us some energy,” Tortorella said.

Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was terrific in net as well. He made some crucial saves from close range and was quick from post to post when he allowed a rebound. Bobrovsky faced less than 30 shots in regulation and only four total on power plays.

I thought the penalty killers were great tonight,” Bobrovsky said. “They didn’t give them many shots … but they did a hell of a job.”

The Blue Jackets penalty kill hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in six games.

Brandon Dubinsky’s alternate captaincy given to Jack Johnson

Since the 2012-13 season, center Brandon Dubinsky has had the letter “A” on his jersey. Before Friday’s game against Winnipeg, head coach John Tortorella stripped the Dubinsky as alternate captain and gave the honor to defenseman Jack Johnson.

Johnson was an alternate captain from 2012 to 2015.

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported Tortorella’s decision was strictly based on performance. The 12-year veteran has registered no goals and two assists with 19 shots in 11 games. He was booked for two penalties Friday, in a game Tortorella described Dubinsky’s play as “awful,” before delivering a crucial forecheck to spring the puck free for Anderson on the final goal.

“I thought at times tonight, he was awful, [Dubinsky],” Tortorella said. “But you put him in a big spot and he finds a way to help.”

Injury report

  • Fourth-line center Lukas Sedlak out six weeks with ankle injury he suffered Monday.
  • First-line right wing Cam Atkinson had lower-body injury against St. Louis Saturday; extent of injury unknown.

Looking ahead

The Blue Jackets return home Monday to play the Boston Bruins (4-3-2, 5th Atlantic) before travelling to Florida for a game at the Panthers (4-5-1, 6th Atlantic) Thursday and at Tampa Bay Lightning (9-2-1, 1st Atlantic) Saturday.

The Jackets lost 2-0 to the Lightning on Oct. 19 at Nationwide Arena.

Top performers

Seth Jones – one goal (2), two assist (6), three points (8), +3

Matt Calvert – two goal (3), two points (5)

Josh Anderson – two goals (3), two points (5), +2

Oliver Bjorkstrand – one goal (2), one assist (4), two point (6), +2

Cam Atkinson – one goal (4), one assist (1), two points (5)

  • Note: Atkinson left Saturday’s game against the Blues with a lower-body injury

Goaltending:

Sergei Bobrovsky – 2-0 (6-2), 0.98 goals allowed average (1.86), 63 saves, .969 save percentage (.938)

Joonas Korpisalo – 0-1 (1-2), 4.03 goals allowed average (3.67), 38 saves, .905 save percentage (.887)

In the circle (faceoff record, faceoff win percentage, EV record, PP record, SH record)

Brandon Dubinsky – 33-33, 50.0, 26-30, 0-0, 7-3

Nick Foligno – 31-29, 51.7, 20-21, 6-5, 5-3

Alexander Wennberg – 17-11, 60.7, 15-10, 2-1, 0-0

Zac Dalpe – 3-12, 20.0, 2-12, 0-0, 1-0

Overall: 311-383 (44.8 percent), ranked 30th

Special teams units:

Powerplay – 1-for-2 vs. Buffalo; 0-for-4 vs. Winnipeg; 0-for-2 at St. Louis

Overall: 3-for-30 (10.0 percent), ranked 31st

Penalty kill – 1-for-1 vs. Buffalo; 6-for-6 vs. Winnipeg; 3-for-3 at St. Louis

Overall: 25-for-28 (89.3 percent), ranked fourth

Up next:

10/30 – vs. Boston (4-3-2)

11/2 – at Florida (4-5-1)

11/4 – at Tampa Bay (9-2-1)

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