For weeks, the Blue Jackets trudged along in the Western Conference basement, beset by one-goal losses and clinging to fading notion that their fate would change if they kept putting forth a respectable effort. That sort of flimsy faith can only last so long. Eventually, tangible results — victories, points — are necessary. A 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers last night in front of 14,952 at Nationwide Arena gave the Blue Jackets a four-game point streak and their first back-to-back victories of the season. “I sense the guys have more confidence,” coach Todd Richards said. “We’ve talked about losing by one goal, and the frustration creeping in. It’s nice to see the guys getting rewarded.” Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky came on in relief of starter Steve Mason 31 seconds into the second period. He was perfect the rest of the way, making 21 saves in regulation and overtime and stopping both Oilers players in the shootout. Vinny Prospal, Derek MacKenzie and Jack Johnson scored for the Blue Jackets, who came back from 1-0 and 3-2 deficits in their second shootout victory of the season. Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu scored in the shootout. After Bobrovsky stopped Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky in the shootout, a third Edmonton shooter was not necessary. “This is going to help confidence-wise,” Prospal said. “It’s going to help us with the ‘believe’ part of this game, which is so big. We can come back and win. We can find a way. Never give up. That’s the way we have to play.” Richards gave Mason the quick hook after he allowed a goal by Magnus Paajarvi on the first shift of the second period. Worse goals have been allowed, but after Nick Foligno did not pick up Paajarvi coming through the zone, Mason didn’t come close to stopping Paajarvi’s shot.
Blue Jackets 4, Oilers 3 (SO): Finally, a second straight win
Columbus Dispatch | Mar 6