In the past, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards used Ryan Johansen to check the opponent’s top players but, this season, opponents are sending their top checkers out to stop Johansen.
That is the definition of a No.1 center. "What I see is more of the defensemen matchup," Richards said. "Teams are putting their top pair out against him, and that’s a compliment. The points are starting to come for him, and that catches people’s attention. As a coach who is preparing to play a team, you have to take note of that." Johansen, in his third pro season, has a career-long seven-game points streak, totaling three goals, six assists and a plus-3 rating. In 32 games, Johansen has 11 goals, 14 assists and 25 points — all career highs. On Thursday, in the Blue Jackets’ 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Johansen was targeted physically by the Rangers from the early stages of the game. "Our line is playing with a lot of confidence right now, putting up numbers and helping the team win," Johansen said. "I guess teams who have prescouted us have noticed that."
Sat, Dec 14, 2013 10:47:00 AM