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Wild 3, Blue Jackets 2 - Quick Thoughts

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The John Tortorella era began tonight in Minnesota, but the CBJ came out on the short end of a 3-2 score in the boss's debut.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

- First game under John Tortorella! Let's get fired up! Hard-nosed hockey and let's see how these first five minutes go anwell, OK. Wild struck first at 5:04. Parise potted his sixth of the year on a Ryan Suter deflection. 1-0 Wild.

- The CBJ seemed to shake off the goal well enough. All the things we'd thought we see with Tortorella look like they might bloom after 10 minutes. At the very least, I think we all wanted to see hustle and fight, right?

- Jackets evened the game 10 minutes in. The puck moved around the blue line and Cody Goloubef ripped a shot at the net, which bounced out to a waiting Alexander Wennberg. The sophomore kept the puck low--important from an angle like that, as you could see in this GIF. Good for Wennberg to get a goal early in the season after missing time with the head injury. 1-1 game.

- Nearly 10 more minutes of hockey pass before the Jackets take the lead shortly before the first intermission. They score on a similar goal to Wennberg's, with Ryan Murray firing at the net this time for Brandon Dubinsky's rebound pickup in front of Dubnyk. Hard-nosed, dirty-area hockey for the visitors. Atkinson picked up his second assist and the CBJ took a 13-6 shot edge into the locker room. 2-0 Jackets.

Second Period

- The Wild came out of the intermission a little more together and scored two goals in 12 minutes.

- Minnesota tied the game 5:41 into the frame. Nino Niederreiter’s wrister trickled through Bobrovsky’s legs, who was visibly upset after letting that one in. Not the best body language, but I get it. Find your game, big guy. 2-2.

- Cody Goloubef took four minutes’ worth of hooking penalties near the midway point the Jackets killed 3:03 of them before the Wild took back the lead. Jason Zucker sent a hard shot at Thomas Vanek and the forward deflected a chance that glanced off Bob’s head and into the net. Tricky, but you’re playing with fire after three minutes on the PK. Talented deflection though, and that’s how you score 301 goals in the NHL. 3-2 Wild.

- Late in the period, Devan Dubnyk made an incredible extension save on Wennberg as the forward tried to stuff home a rebound in the crease. Bob made two strong saves shortly after in the final seconds to keep Minnesota within a goal after 40 minutes.

Third Period

- Bob gave up a huge rebound at the 4:24 mark that he was lucky Parise didn’t ram home. A slapper from just inside the blue line hit the standing goalie high, forcing the defense to shove the puck right back into Bob or go down by two goals. The play evened up the shot count, 22-22.

- Around this time (with 13 or so minutes left in the game) Dubinsky moved up to the top line between Brandon Saad and Nick Foligno while Ryan Johansen dropped to the second line.

- The CBJ offense proved able to direct some shots on net, albeit without any going in. After a long stretch of back-and-forth play, the Jackets applied some pressure late in the game as the Wild hunkered down.

- Tortorella called his timeout with two minutes left and Bob came off the ice soon after play resumed. The CBJ got an offensive zone faceoff with 86 seconds to go and the extra skater, but nothing doing. Wild win, 3-2.

Final Thoughts

- 0-8-0. At least they held an opponent scoreless in the third?

- The Minnesota broadcast posted an interesting graphic during a break, showing the CBJ defense moving from ninth goals allowed/game in 2012-13 (2.40) to 13th in 2013-14, 25th last season and 30th this season. This year’s drawing from a small sample size, sure, but four straight (or at least three) years of decline isn’t going in the right direction.

- For John Tortorella’s first game coaching in the NHL since April of 2014, the boss made his presence felt. The Jackets played with some urgency, blocked some shots (good one by Savard on Koivu in the waning minutes) and Torts didn’t hesitate to juggle his lines. He mentioned the need for time to learn the guys and get a feel for who’s playing for him, and tonight marks the first game in a long learning process for everyone involved (including you and me).

- When evaluating this game, it’s tough to not think about Tortorella talking about having to rebuild confidence with everybody—including the goalie. Bob looked better than he has most of the year but nowhere near the same guy who won the Vezina a few years ago. Scrambly at times, strong at others, this game hopefully went towards restoring the psyche of one of the league’s best.

- Good game for Alexander Wennberg. For a guy who scored four goals all of last season, he came this close to netting two tonight:

- The Jackets stay on the road, at Colorado on Saturday at 9 p.m. Eastern. The Avs lost to Carolina on Wednesday, 1-0.