There was a plenty of buzz surrounding Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen following a 3-2 victory March 20 against the Montreal Canadiens. Most people wanted to talk about the third-year player's first NHL fight when he squared off against Max Pacioretty early in the game and how Johansen would respond after wading into unknown territory. The answer came with 3:01 left in regulation when he showed the skill and savvy that made him the No. 4 pick by the Blue Jackets in the 2010 NHL Draft. Johansen took the puck off the stick of defenseman Jarred Tinordi a stride outside the blue line and streaked into the zone. With two Canadiens in pursuit, he made a sharp stop low in the right faceoff circle. He pulled the puck back to freeze the goaltender then fired past Carey Price to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 victory. "He's a unique combination of great high-end skills and soft hands," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. Though the goal might be considered the defining moment in the defining game of a breakout season for the 21-year-old Johansen, Columbus coach Todd Richards remembers something else about him that night in the Bell Centre. "There was a play Jo made earlier in the game, first period, where he picked the puck up right in front of our bench, and chipped it off the boards and did a spin, then picked it up on the other side of the player," Richards said. "Then he went in, did a delay and hit David Savard for a great scoring chance.
Johansen enjoying breakout season with Blue Jackets
NHL.com | Mar 28