Don't tell me the preseason means nothing.
Not since their hard-fought first round playoff matchup this past Spring have the Jackets and Penguins faced off against each other. The hype leading up to this game was matched only by the star power the Penguins brought with them on the bus from Pittsburgh- the Jackets had to strategize and scheme against the likes of Tom Kostopoulos, Zach Sill and Bryan Rust.
The Jackets' lineup was a good mix for the fans, with Brandon Dubinsky, Sergei Bobrovsky, Cam Atkinson and Artem Anisimov sprinkled among guys like Josh Anderson, Kerby Rychel and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Oh, and Scott Hartnell made his on-ice debut in a CBJ sweater.
Bob played the first two periods, before giving way to Oscar Dansk.
Due to technical bullshit, I missed the first period and a bit of the second. So, for the recap of the first period I defer to the Jackets' official take on things.
From the Official Blue Jackets site:
FIRST PERIOD RECAP: It has taken both teams a while to get going and neither side really dominated the opening period, and thus, we're scoreless after 20 minutes at Nationwide Arena. Yes, the Penguins have 15 shots to only seven for the Blue Jackets, but Columbus had the better quality chances - including a close call for former Penguin forward Brian Gibbons at the side of the net. His line with Dubinsky at center and Josh Anderson has been the most noticeable in the game so far, finishing checks and creating chances off the forecheck. At the other end, it was a busy period for Sergei Bobrovsky but he stopped 'em all inluding a couple that were good looks.
The teams traded penalties early in the period, and the game continued to look very much like a preseason game. Lots of missed passes, a general lack of flow and few very good offensive chances.
At the 14:17 mark of the middle period, the Jackets opened the scoring. Michael Chaput gathered the puck near center ice, and fed a streaking Cam Atkinson. Cam continued up the right wing, firing a shot on Pittsburgh starter Thomas Greiss. The shot beat Greiss, but hit the post. Chaput was there to pot the rebound.
1-0 Jackets: Michael Chaput - Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell
The assist was the first unofficial point for Hartnell as a Jacket.
Atkinson wasn't gone showcasing his speed and skill. A few minutes later, he knifed through the Pittsburgh defense, just missing on a goal. After a strong showing in his first preseason game, Cam was terrific again tonight. He'll be a big part of the offense this year for the Jackets, as he'll be looked to for major secondary scoring.
I feel like I have to again quantify this by saying "PRESEASON" but Fedor Tyutin seemed to have a bit of a tough game. He misplayed some pucks, and was out of position at times. Hell, I'm just reporting what I see. Tyuts will be just fine.
There was no more scoring in the second, but here are some random thoughts I had during the period:
- Kerby Rychel looks big, and isn't afraid to go to the net. #grit
- Corey Tropp was doing #depth things tonight, I guess.
- Bob's all-white pads and lighter-colored mask? Not really a fan so far.
- Josh Anderson looked totally overwhelmed during the late-period push by the Pens. With the puck on his stick, he was making things happen. Defensively there's some work to be done. In fairness, it was the end of a long shift for the kid.
As I mentioned above, Dansk came in to relieve Bob. He's battled some shakiness, and though he fought a couple of pucks tonight, he performed well. He wasn't tested by many quality scoring chances.
There was a controlled chaos sighting early in the period when Will Weber and Tom Kuhnhackl went off with minors, putting the teams four-on-four. It's amazing how the pace of the game changed when veteran NHLers outnumbered rookies on the ice.
Midway through the period, Dubinsky and Steve Downie got into it. A sign of things to come? The Pens showed that their shit can be easily disturbed last season, so bringing in Downie is supposedly going to make them more resistant to the charms of a Dubi, or Hartnell. Ok.
After a hit by James Wisniewski on Pierre-Luc (deep breath) Letorneau-Leblond, the guys on the ice found dance partners and started to mix it up. The only guys to really scrap were Rychel and Brian Dumoulin, with the latter tossing the former to the ice. Both went off for fighting, while P-L-L_L-L/L-L -L was given a minor by the person stitching the letters on the back of the sweaters. On the ensuing powerplay, there was no joy for the Jackets.
Some third period observations:
- Oliver Bjorkstrand has tremendous skill, but you knew that already.
- Dubi was a man among boys, literally and figuratively, this evening.
- Brian Gibbons brought precisely what I hoped he'd bring- speed and forechecking ability. He had a nice sequence where his forechecking turned the puck over, then he fed the puck to the slot where Anderson was there to crack it on net. Greiss made the save, however.
With about 90 seconds left, the Penguins pulled Greiss. It didn't take long for the Jackets to ice it, when Atkinson won a race to a loose puck along the left wall, before taking a backhand chop at it. He made solid contact, with the puck sliding over into the open net.
2-0 Jackets: Cam Atkinson - Michael Chaput, Artem Anisimov
FINAL SCORE: 2-0 Jackets
1) Camsanity was in full effect again tonight.
2) Bob and Dansk combined for the shutout. Props.
3) Michael Chaput;s two points deserves recognition.
4) Scott Harntell led the team in hits, with 5. He also had some nice offensive chances.
Bottom of the Barrel:
1) Bob's white pads.