After the Dallas Stars jumped on the Blue Jackets early in Tuesday's game, Columbus was determined to start better. And boy did they do just that. Two goals in the first 5:21 put the Flames in an early hole. Matt Calvert added a very "Calvert-like" goal in the 2nd period and the Jackets appeared ready to head off to Ottawa with a win. Calgary came out in the 3rd with other plans and very nearly sent it to overtime.
The scoring started early, and it was kicked off by the newly-constructed Skille - Letestu - Calvert line as Marko Dano had the night off with an undisclosed injury. Letestu skated out from the left corner and set up Skille coming down the slot. Jack slammed it home for a 1-0 lead just 2;59 into the game
1-0 Jackets - Jack Skille (2nd) at 2:59 from Mark Letestu and Matt Calvert - EV
Shortly after the goal (at 3:41 of the 1st period), Mark Giordano went off for two minutes for Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass. The ensuing power play didn't always look crisp but the goal ended up finding the back of the net. Cam Atkinson was working to keep the puck in the zone and got it over to Nick Foligno. As Foligno skated in from Karri Ramo's left, he feathered a back-hand pass to Johansen just off the right circle who finished the job for his third goal of the season. Just like that the Jackets were up 2-0.
2-0 Jackets - Ryan Johansen (3rd) at 5:21 from Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson - PP
Columbus kept pushing and it would take Calgary nearly half the period to simply register a shot on goal. Corey Tropp, making his season debut in the place of Dano, dropped the gloves with Ladislav Smid at the 9:04 mark. He landed a couple punches but went for the wrestling take down pretty quickly. Atkinson had a good chance on a breakout but sent his back hand shot just wide. The team killed of a minor penalty in the middle of the period and the team had to be happy being the ones going to the locker room up 2-0 as opposed to last game.
The Jackets killed off an early Artem Anisimov penalty for hooking, and then got back to work on the scoring. Calvert and Letestu were battling in front of the net and after a Letestu shot was blocked, Calvert banged home the puck as he was falling to the ice.
3-0 Jackets - Matt Calvert (1st) at 7:55 from Mark Letestu and James Wisniewski - EV
The teams traded a couple minor penalties the rest of the period, but after 40 minutes it looked like Bobrovsky was going to stop everything thrown at him and the Jackets would jet off to Ottawa an easy win.
Not so fast. Give the Flames credit - they just would not go away in the 3rd period. Matt Calvert went off for charging just 17 seconds into the period. Moments after that penalty was killed off Mason Raymond finished a feed from former-Blue Jacket Curtis Glencross.
3-1 Jackets - Mason Raymond (4th) at 2:21 from Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund - EV
After killing off a Matt Stajan minor penalty for high-sticking, Calgary would get back to scoring. Josh Jooris, making his NHL debut, would beat Sergei Bobrovsky high to the glove side after a long feed from Giordano. All of a sudden, the game got interesting.
3-2 Jackets - Josh Jooris (1st) at 11:43 from Mike Giordano and T.J. Brodie - EV
There was another power play for the CBJ, but the final frame mostly belonged to the Flames. They piled up the scoring chances, including at least one post late in the game, but Bobrovsky held off the late scramble with some help from his teammates as well. The puck would not find the back of the net again.
Final Score - Jackets 3, Flames 2
- Matt Calvert - #11 had his best game of the season, scoring the game-winner in the crease and assisting on Skille's goal. He finally seemed closer to his old form and the Jackets were better for it.
- Mark Letestu - Test Tube dominated in the dot (15 of 19 faceoff wins) and added a pair of assists. He was a steady force in all situations.
- Jack Skille - We have seen Skille moved up in the lineup the past couple games, and Richards moved him up with Dano out. He took advantage and fired home the first goal of the game.
- Ryan Johansen - He's still working off some final bits of rust and getting into top game shape, but Joey has 3 goals and 3 assists through just 4 games. He's looking more and more like the old "Joey" every game. Now, if he would just fire a few more shots...(he has just six shots on net so far this year).
Bottom of the Barrel
- Consistency - The Jackets still could not put together a full 60 minutes. You could see them sit back in the last period because of the lead, and Calgary nearly sent it to OT.
- The 40's line (Hartnell - Anisimov - Wennberg) - Hartnell had some shots, but this line was mostly quiet. Through four games Anisimov is a -2, Hartnell is a -3, and Wennberg is a -5. Not a great stat, but that line has been on the ice for a lot of goals against.
- Penalties - The Jackets came into the game with the fewest minor penalties taken in the entire league, but they took four minors in addition to Tropp's fighting major. The penalty kill remains perfect, but the team needs to remain disciplined in its play.
The team is now 3-1-0 and are off to face the Ottawa Senators Saturday night.