Curtis Sanford, the 32-year-old journeyman that last played in the NHL in 2009, has stepped in and provided Columbus with its most solid goaltending of the year. He’s 3-1-2 with a 1.38 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
“He’s not all over the place,” said Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel (in what was either praise for Sanford or condemnation of Mason — you decide!) “He’s compact. He faces the shooter and prepares himself for the next rebound and that next chance. He’s not a guy who expends a ton of energy by flying all over the place.”
Another positive for Sanford is the Jackets seemingly play better in front of him than Mason. Inexplicable, but the numbers confirm — Columbus earned its only winning-streak of the year with Sanford in goal and secured at least a point in all but one of his games played.
So, consider the situation. Mason’s been very bad, Sanford’s been very good. Arniel’s job has been on the line for weeks, the BJs are desperate for wins and throughout the league, teams are riding their backups with great success (see: Cory Schneider in Vancouver, Brian Elliott in St. Louis and Josh Harding in Minnesota.)
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger