Blue Jackets top Flyers in shootout
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets gave themselves a nice gift heading into the holiday break, but it took some extra work and some breaks along the way to wrap it up.
Pierre-Luc Dubois came through with the only goal in the shootout and the Blue Jackets ended the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.
The 19-year-old rookie said he had no plan of attack in his first career shootout attempt in the NHL, only to read and react, and he lifted the shot past Flyers goalie Brian Elliott.
“In my entire life, midget, everything, I don’t think I’ve scored in a shootout once,” Dubois said. “Now I’m one for one in my NHL career and so I’m pretty happy.”
So were the Blue Jackets (22-13-2), who were missing several key players because of injuries.
“You’re not going to have a healthy lineup all year long,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “You’ve got to find a way to get it done.”
Dubois did his job in overtime and so did Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He turned aside some prime scoring opportunities for the Flyers late in the game and finished with 30 saves.
“He made some incredible saves,” Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones said.
Jones scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets. At 17:08 of the first period, he took a return pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand on the power play and sent a rising shot from above the right circle off the left post.
But the Blue Jackets weren’t able to get the puck past Elliott until the shootout in a tightly played game.
“We stuck with it,” Foligno said. “They pushed. We bent, but we didn’t break. Obviously, Bob was outstanding tonight.”
After an ugly loss in Boston on Monday night, the Blue Jackets ended the week with two wins at home and a shootout loss in Pittsburgh.
“I’m thrilled to get five out of six (points),” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “Some of the people that are gone out of tonight’s lineup, I’m very happy with the way played. Had some lulls in the game but found a way to win. Bob made some key saves.”
The Flyers (15-13-8) picked up one point on the second night of a back-to-back, but were disappointed that it couldn’t have been two points.
After Ivan Provorov answered Jones’ goal with the equalizer in the second period, the Flyers pushed until the end of regulation and nearly won it. But a shot by Sean Couturier bounced off the inside of the post with 17 seconds left to keep the score tied and send the game to overtime.
The Flyers also had a potential go-ahead score waved off with 1:39 remaining in the second period when replay review determined that a shot by Jakub Voracek was deflected by a high stick on the doorstep. The score remained 1-1.
“It was a hard-working game for us,” Provorov said. “We competed for 65 minutes, had scoring chances, just couldn’t put the puck in the net in the third period.”
Claude Giroux and Couturier each had an assist on Provorov’s goal, but neither could beat Bobrovsky with their chances in the shootout.
That left the Flyers with three losses in their last four games going into the short Christmas recess. Still, they were encouraged with the effort after losing in Buffalo the night before.
“It’s a good team and a tough barn to take points out of, and I’m proud of the way the guys played,” said Elliott, who finished with 35 saves in his 20th start in the past 21 games.
NOTES: C Alexander Wennberg missed the game with an undisclosed injury. He left Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period and did not return. The team plans to make an announcement after Christmas, indicating that Wennberg could miss significant time. ... Blue Jackets D Zach Werenski remained sidelined with an undisclosed injury. There is no word how long he might be out. Werenski, who has missed the past three games, was the leading goal scorer among NHL defensemen at the time of his injury. ... Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere was leading all NHL defensemen in power-play points with 16. ... The Flyers have not won in Columbus since 2005. ... The Blue Jackets recalled LW Jordan Schroeder and C Tyler Motte from Cleveland of the American Hockey League after sending F Sonny Milano to the Monsters. ... Flyers G Brian Elliott started his 11th consecutive game.