The longest trip of the Blue Jackets’ season — eight days, five games and 6,705 air miles if you believe Google — came to a stunning conclusion last night in the epicenter of the hockey universe. Like any good roller coaster, the youngsters (Blue Jackets players) were nothing short of ecstatic, while the grown-ups (coaches and management) were kissing the ground, thankful to have landed in one piece. The Blue Jackets, behind two goals from Ryan Johansen and two assists each from Nick Foligno, James Wisniewski and Mark Letestu, routed the Maple Leafs 6-0, much to the dismay of 19,241 in Air Canada Centre. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had 18 saves for his first shutout of the season, the fifth of his career. “This is the perfect way to end it,” Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. “It’s the perfect way to go home.” It wasn’t always pretty. In fact, it was rather atrocious at times. But the Blue Jackets went 3-2 on the trip. “I felt like I was back at Valley Fair,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said, remembering the amusement park of his youth in Minnesota. “Up and down, up and down. We’re up right now. It’s a good way to finish it.” Richards has acknowledged he has no idea which Blue Jackets team will show up each night, and that was especially true on this trip. A 4-1 win in Ottawa. A 7-0 loss in Edmonton. A 2-1 overtime win in Calgary. A 6-2 loss in Vancouver. Then a six-goal win last night, the Blue Jackets’ largest margin of victory in more than three years. Dizzy yet? “I’m really proud of the guys,” said Johansen, who had the second three-point game of his career. “We had a lot of guys really step up tonight. “It’s something you don’t expect, coming into Toronto. For us to win like we did here, it was everybody. We backed each other up.” Cam Atkinson, R.J. Umberger, Jack Skille and Ryan Murray also scored for the Blue Jackets, who chased Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer at 11:24 of the third period.
Blue Jackets 6, Maple Leafs 0: Long slog of a trip ends with blowout win
Columbus Dispatch | Nov 26