The Blue Jackets took to the ice last night and less than 30 seconds into the game, Oliver Bjorkstrand made his presence known scoring his 11th goal of the year. The Columbus forward struck a second time later in the first when he notched his 12th of the year making the score, 2-0.
The Devils found their lone goal in the second as penalties plagued them throughout the game, most specifically in the third period. CBJ had a two-man advantage at one point for about half a minute which carried over to a one-man advantage for another three and a half minutes when New Jersey winger Kyle Palmieri received a double-minor for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Since new assistant coach Paul MacLean arrived on the scene for the Blue Jackets, the team seems to have started to find their way on the power play. Despite that, they were not able to capitalize on the extensive advantage here. The team looked a bit lost and even sloppy at times in moving the puck. Nevertheless, the power-play goal was not going to be needed on this night.
Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan took a tripping penalty with just under three minutes left in the game and the Devils promptly pulled their goalie for a six-on-four advantage. In a case of adding the proverbial insult to injury, Zach Werenski intended to clear the puck, which, possible courtesy of the new Star Wars film had a little help from the Force, took a lucky bank and resulting trajectory right down the center of the ice into the Devils’ empty net.
Not too long after, first-year Jacket and NHL vet Gustav Nyquist put two beautiful moves on the Devils D as he expertly maneuvered his way out of the neutral zone through one spin-o-rama and some magical stick work. A second later the Swede sent the biscuit flying into the empty net.
Two shorthanded empty netters. When was the last time you’ve seen that?
Now while the Blue Jackets extended their win streak to four games with last night’s 5-1 victory, all eyes were on Oliver Bjorkstrand near the end of the game. Unfortunately, it was not for the two goals he scored, but the awkward turn he took while tied up with a Devils player later in the game.
He had an extensive discussion with the trainer on the bench and even took a trip down the tunnel at one point which was not a good sign. Bjorkstrand played through to the end, however, which certainly can help counter the injury concerns, but concern there is nonetheless.
We’ll keep you posted with more details on Bjorkstrand’s condition as they become available. As for the team’s next matchup, Columbus heads to Long Island for a Monday matchup against the Islanders before a three-day league break over the Christmas holiday.