Blue Jackets notebook: Calvert finally ends long scoring drought

Goal in loss to Flames is his first since 2011

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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EAMON QUEENEY | DISPATCH
Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert reacts after teammate Vinny Prospal’s third-period goal. Calvert scored a goal of his own in the first period, breaking a 37-game goalless streak dating to March 7, 2011.

Blue Jackets left winger Matt Calvert ended an almost two-year scoring drought last night with a goal in the first period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames in Nationwide Arena.

The goalless streak spanned 37 games, a length that could have been a career crusher.

“I’ve thought about it in that sense, at times,” Calvert said. “But I just knew I had to stick with to it. I just set some goals for myself for the next 10 games and I got off to a good start.”

Calvert tied the score at 1 when he slipped past Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and beat goalie Leland Irving at 4:44 of the first. It was his first goal since March 7, 2011. Calvert had no points and a minus-8 rating in his first seven games this season. He did not score in 13 games last season before he was assigned to minor-league Springfield on Nov. 21, 2011.

“It was nice to see him get that,” coach Todd Richards said. “Whenever you’re searching to score goals, everyone feels it in the room. They all want to contribute. So I’m sure it was a little weight off his shoulder, getting that first one.”

Calvert nearly got a second one. He drew an interference penalty as he screamed toward Irving with the puck with 1:50 remaining in regulation.

“I think I already had the move down in my head,” Calvert said. “Unfortunately my legs got taken out. But it still gave us a chance to win the game, so it felt good.”

Calvert was at times the best player on the ice. He started the game on the third line but was skating with Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno on the second line by the third period.

“Work ethic is just an automatic for myself,” Calvert said. “But it’s the other things I really have to work at. Thinking in the game, being good defensively. It’s coming for me. You just have to stick to it.”

Lightened load

Defenseman Nikita Nikitin was activated from injured reserve before the game and played on the top pair with Fedor Tyutin, lightening the load of Jack Johnson.

Johnson topped 34 minutes of ice time in the two previous games because of injuries to Nikitin, James Wisniewski, Adrian Aucoin and John Moore. He played 27:10 last night, less than Tyutin (29:13) and Nikitin (27:53).

Johnson didn’t necessarily welcome the rest.

“I want to play,” Johnson said. “Nobody wants to sit on the bench. But as you get more players back they’re probably not going to need me to do that anymore.”

Slap shots

Wisniewski skated on his own yesterday in the Ice Haus. … Aucoin joined the team for the morning skate and practiced for the first time since he suffered a lower body injury during a loss at Minnesota on Jan. 29. ..The overtime win was the first for the Flames away from the Saddledome since they won at Nashville on Oct. 19, 2010. Calgary had lost its previous 10 overtime decisions on the road.

smitchell@dispatch.com

@smitchcd

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