After a successful weekend in which the Jackets earned their first victory on home ice, they looked to keep the good vibes going against the visiting St. Louis Blues last night.
It was a battle between Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Elliott in the cages, and both goaltenders were terrific. The Jackets came out flying, until the 7:36 mark when sloppy defensive zone play cost the team a goal. Ryan Murray attempted to carry the puck from behind the goal line and through the slot, where he was stripped by Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi fed the puck back to Kevin Shattenkirk, who blasted his first goal of the year past Bobrovsky.
To make matters worse, Murray was given a high-sticking penalty as he coughed the puck up. The Jackets would kill the penalty. Moments later, Brandon Saad unintentionally clipped Jori Lehtera with his stick in the face, with no call from the ref. Unfortunately for Lehtera and the Blues, he would leave the game and was sent to hospital. Check out St. Louis Game Time for updates on Lehtera and to get their thoughts on the game.
With less than five minutes left in the first, the Jackets would tie the game on a very interesting play: Jared Boll-playing in his 500th NHL game-led a rush up-ice. The play was broken up, and the Blues carried it the other way. The Jackets would then break that play up, and Kerby Rychel fed Cody Goloubef for the counter-attack. The interesting part of the play was the attack was led by Goloubef and Murray, with the trio of fourth liners bringing up the rear. Goloubef kept the puck, wiring a shot off Elliott's glove and into the net.
Talk about a playing who can't catch a break. On a Jackets powerplay at the end of the period, the Blues turned the puck over in their zone, and it landed on Nick Foligno's stick, who was all alone in the slot. Foligno missed on the gimme.
Four minutes into the second period, the Jackets would take the lead. Cam Atkinson rocketed into the St. Louis zone, stopped, and fed a pass over to Murray. Murray then went cross-ice to Brandon Saad, who wired a beauty backhand past Elliott.
The Jackets were dominant in the second period, but Elliott stood tall. He made back-to-back saves on Rychel and Gregory Campbell, and bailed his teammates out of a Columbus onslaught midway through the period.
The Jackets' top line of Saad, Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen looked lethal tonight. You can clearly see confidence and chemistry developing, and unsurprisingly the team is winning.
Rychel was noticeable in a good way tonight, doing nice things with the puck, and making a terrific play on the backcheck to break up a scoring chance in the third period. He deserves to stick, but what happens when Dubinsky and Wennberg return? Tough decisions lie ahead for the coaches.
With Rene Bourque in the box, the Jackets came close to potting a shortie when Atkinson was sent in on Elliott with a deflected outlet pass by William Karlsson. Cam and Elliott came together outside the crease, with the puck bouncing behind the goaltender and just missing the net. On that same penalty kill, Saad and Murray almost score on a two-on-one, and to complete the excellent kill, Jack Johnson laid a huge hit on Robbie Fabbri.
The Blues started to show their frustration late in regulation. David Backes was called for a boarding penalty after driving Rene Bourque into the boards face-first. Bourque would be OK.
Despite some cringe-worthy moments when Bob misplayed the puck behind his net, the Jackets would hold on until just over a minute left, and with Elliott pulled Johansen fed Saad for the empty-netter to seal the victory.
FINAL SCORE: 3-1 Jackets
1 - for the advanced stats for this game, check out War on Ice. -
2 - This was the Jackets' third win in a row, and second home win of the year.
3 - Saad's two goals ties him with Boone and a few others for fifth in the league in goal scoring.
4 - The Jackets are back in action tomorrow night in Ottawa.