Two-way drive Pierre-Luc Dubois makes an early impression for Columbus
The Blue Jackets’ high heart was important to the workforce’s opening victory over Toronto. And Dubois bought loads of assist from his mates in conserving the Leafs’ high weapons quietPierre-Luc Dubois|Eric Bolte-USA TODAY SportsJarmo Kekalainen knew. Again in 2016, the Columbus Blue Jackets had been slated to choose third total within the draft and to most outsiders, the choice was in all probability going to be a Finn just like the GM himself. Auston Matthews was positively going first to Toronto and Patrik Laine was virtually definitely headed to Winnipeg at No. 2, leaving Jesse Puljujarvi for the Blue Jackets.
However Kekalainen and his crew weren’t sizzling on Puljujarvi and shocked many in attendance by taking heart Pierre-Luc Dubois. Edmonton snapped up Puljujarvi with the fourth choose and since then, the teen has been looking for his method within the NHL, even spending this season again in Finland to get his mojo again. With each passing day, that selection by Kekalainen has appeared increasingly more improbable.
Dubois, now the franchise’s high heart, was a giant purpose why Columbus took Recreation 1 of its qualifying spherical collection in opposition to Toronto, nailing down the Leafs with a 2-Zero victory. Consuming up a gradual weight-reduction plan of his draftmate Matthews, Dubois used his measurement, skating and tenacity to neutralize probably the most harmful goal-scorers within the league.
Coming into his draft yr, Dubois wasn’t even a middle – he had been enjoying on the wing. However he started to be taught the place within the QMJHL with Cape Breton and was clearly a fast research. After yet one more yr cut up between the Eagles and Blainville-Boisbriand, Dubois bought to Columbus and has steadily been one of many workforce’s best high-end gamers. No, you don’t see him at many All-Star Video games and he doesn’t get the nationwide TV commercials, however that’s as a result of sound, two-way play isn’t actually horny until you additionally put up large numbers a la Ryan O’Reilly.
However so long as the Blue Jackets stay a heavy outfit to cope with, I’m gonna wager that Dubois and his bosses will let that one slide.
Dubois wasn’t alone after all. Seth Jones, the workforce’s greatest defenseman, additionally took on Matthews often and successfully. Jones was notably bodily in opposition to the Maple Leafs, which is a sound technique for a workforce that prefers to win video games with ability somewhat than brawn.
It’s not coincidental that one among Matthews’ greatest probabilities got here within the second interval when he discovered himself on the ice in opposition to Dean Kukan and Ryan Murray, somewhat than Jones and his wonderful accomplice, Zach Werenski.
And naturally there was goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who earned the shutout in his first-ever NHL post-season look. Although the workforce was excellent in entrance of him, Korpisalo shut the door when wanted, together with a really early probability from Nick Robertson on the doorstep and that Matthews shot within the second.
“He was a giant a part of the win,” mentioned coach John Tortorella. “Not a whole lot of wasted movement. I favored his demeanor, additionally. We’re in a reasonably good scenario as far that place is worried.”
Total, Tortorella was happy together with his workforce’s positioning all through the night and Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe famous how troublesome Columbus made the sport for his squad. From high to backside, it was a deadly-efficient outing for the Blue Jackets and that was all the time going to be the important thing to success for them: floor the high-flying Maple Leafs earlier than Toronto’s large weapons get a possibility to torch you.
“There’s nothing particular we’re doing,” Tortorella mentioned. “We’re simply making an attempt to play the sport the appropriate method.”
Tags: columbus blue jackets, toronto maple leafs, stanley cup playoffsConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect skilled at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.