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Canadiens grind-it-out win vs. Blue Jackets a sign of growth - Sportsnet.ca

Canadiens  grind-it-out win vs. Blue Jackets a sign of growth - Sportsnet.ca
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MONTREAL The Montreal Canadiens came into Tuesdays game against the Columbus Blue Jackets with the same exact 9-5-3 record through 17 games as they had established through 17 games last season, but they came out of it having shown an important sign of progress.

For most of the game, the Blue Jackets employed a plan that was tailor-made to slow the Canadiens down. They executed it to perfection, and it became that much easier to do with a one-goal lead Eric Robinson gave them in the 17th minute of the first period.

The Blue Jackets came hard and fast on the forecheck. When they lost control of the puck, they plugged up the space between the dots in the offensive zone and faded back through the neutral zone to eliminate Montreals ability to breakout quickly and control the play.

The Blue Jackets played the exact type of game the Buffalo Sabres did in two early-season wins over the Canadiens in 2018, and they nearly skated away with a win on this night.

Its the game Canadiens coach Claude Julien was expecting from his counterpart John Tortorella.

"I know its the game plan for a lot of teams who play against us is to not give us space in our game because we skate pretty well," he said.
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