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Game 21 Recap: Grounded

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Despite stretches of inspired play, the Jackets couldn't overcome two quick second period goals by the Jets.

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

This game was a treat for the fans, full of big hits, exciting end-to-end action, huge saves and even a scrap. The goaltenders were great tonight, with a battle featuring Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Hutchinson. The latter is having a terrific season, and was one of the main reasons the Jets were able to steal one on the road.

FIRST PERIOD

Things most certainly did not get off on the right foot for the Jackets, with the Jets opening the scoring just nine seconds into the game. With Jack Johnson diving in to attempt to break up a pass, the puck made its way to Andrew Ladd, who fed Bryan Little with a terrific pass as he split Dalton Prout and Ryan Johansen. Little pulled off a deke to beat Bob.

1-0 Jets: Bryan Little  - Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler

With Michael Frolik in the box for high-sticking less than two minutes later, the Jackets were able to quickly respond and tie the game. The second powerplay unit moved the puck well, with Jordan Leopold wiring a shot past Hutchinson for his first goal of the season, and first as a Blue Jacket.

1-1: Jordan Leopold - Artem Anisimov, David Savard

Leopold has been a solid fit since coming over from the Blues. His patience is indicative of his experience, and he's good at getting the puck up-ice.

Midway through the period, Jared Boll hit Paul Postma into the end boards while he was leaning, which ended up with Postma getting hit up high. Chris Thorburn skated right over to Boll, dropping his gloves and instigating a fight. The bout was a draw, but Thorburn was given the 2-5-10 treatment. Boll received a minor for charging.

Later in the period Nick Foligno managed to avoid a trashed knee when Mark Stuart stuck his own knee out into Foligno's as he skated by him. Stuart was called for tripping, but the Jackets couldn't convert on the man advantage.

Ryan Johansen was whistled for a double minor to end the period.

SECOND PERIOD

The CBJ were able to kill the remaining Johansen penalties to start the period.

Cam Atkinson, who was dangerous with the puck all night, had an excellent chance to take the lead but worked himself too deep on a breakaway. I have a feeling that Cam is about to embark on a goal scorer's binge any game now- he's been increasingly more noticeable with the puck over the past few games.

The fans woke from a bit of a slumber with about seven minutes gone in the middle frame, when Dalton Prout checked Evander Kane into the Winnipeg bench. Prout had a difficult night, and I wonder if playing with Johnson is a good idea.

The physical play really ramped up in the second period, and would continue throughout the rest of the game. The compete level from both teams was evident all over the ice.

With 7:15 left, the Jackets went on the powerplay. It was the beginning of an eventful stretch of play- first, a Jet two-on-one was stopped by Bob, and on the transition up ice the Jackets got the puck in deep. Zach Bogosian gathered the puck behind the net, but he blew a tire and the puck landed on Boone Jenner's stick in front of the net. Hutchinson was able to make the emergency stop on Boone. Shortly after, Adam Pardy was called for roughing, giving the Jackets a five-on-three advantage. With the first penalty killed, Scott Hartnell was called for interfering with Hutchinson, on what was a very cheesy call. When the four-on-four transitioned to a Winnipeg powerplay, the Jets set up in the Columbus zone. Dustin Byfuglien fired a pass cross-crease, where Evander Kane simply had to have his stick on the ice to redirect the puck past Bob.

2-1 Jets: Evander Kane - Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba

Just seconds later, Prout hauled down a Jets forward in front of the net, crashing into Bob. The ref raised his arm on the delayed penalty call, but rather than play the whistle Prout skated to the ref to plead his case. Out of position, the Jets were able to take advantage of the breakdown and fired a quick shot past Bob.

3-1 Jets: Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler

THIRD PERIOD

The Jackets were the better possession team for the first half of the final period, peppering Hutchinson but finding no weakness in his armor, that is, until the 9:47 mark. Johansen gathered the puck behind the Winnipeg net and circled out front, beating Hutchinson with a backhand.

3-2 Jets: Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno, James Wisniewski

The Jackets had their chances to tie the game, with perhaps the best chance coming off an Anisimov - Brian Gibbons two-on-one. Arty passed cross-slot, with Gibbons just missing wide. The puck took a Columbus bounce and came right back to Arty in front of the net. He took a quick shot, but hit the post before Hutchinson was able to smother it.

With about two minutes left, Cam found himself alone flying down the right wing. He wired a shot, beating Hutchinson but not the iron.

Bob was pulled with a minute left, but en route to the bench he intercepted a weak shot off a Winnipeg stick. The problem with though, was that the extra skater had already hopped over the boards before Bob turned to play the puck, and the Jackets were called for too many men.

Kane iced the game with an empty netter.

4-2 Jets: Evander Kane - Jacob Trouba

FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Jets

Standard Bearers:

  • The goalies were very good tonight, but full credit to Hutchinson, who may well be the best backup in hockey right now.
  • Congrats to Jordan Leopold on his first CBJ goal.
  • The coaches probably hated this game, but it was a treat for the fans.
Bottom of the Barrel:
  • Dalton Prout led the team in hits and blocks, but also made some bad passes to go along with his delayed penalty blunder. Slow the game down, Prouter!
  • The Jackets continue to give up way too many opposition powerplays.
  • Alexander Wennberg played 8:43 tonight. Send him to Springfield, and call up Tyrell until Letestu or Dubi are ready.
  • Dubi :(
For the advanced stats for this game, check out Hockey Stats.

The Jackets are back in action on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.