After a long two days that saw the star goaltender shelved for three weeks, a return to the team for David Clarkson, much shouting and focus on the little things in practice, and Jack Johnson in court for bankruptcy proceedings, the team took the ice in Winnipeg against a Jets team that hadn’t lit the world on fire of late. On the team flight to Winnipeg, the Jackets were handed a homework assignment. Coach Tortorella demanded each player give a reason as to "Why?" in a search for insight and self-reflection into the team’s struggles, hoping to turn things around. The Blue Jackets looked to avenge a Halloween night home loss to the Jets. Off we went.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Your starters for Columbus tonight: Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Jack Johnson, David Savard, and Curtis McElhinney
27 seconds. That’s all it took for Winnipeg to get on the board. This time, it didn’t even take a boneheaded mistake from the keeper (poor Steve Clark- he played well the rest of the game Sunday!). Off a rush into the zone and a deflection off the glass, Mark Scheifele buried one behind Curtis McElhinney. Assists went to Drew Stafford and Mathieu Perreault.
Winnipeg goal. Welp. Not how this was supposed to start. Winnipeg made it 2-0 just 2:22 into the game. Adam Lowry redirected a slapshot. Assists went to Dustin Byfuglin and Anthony Peluso. Brutal. Just….brutal.
Columbus shot on goal! Yes, that’s what we’re looking for. It only took 4 minutes and a two goal deficit, but here we are.
Power play Columbus! Blake Wheeler was called for high sticking. Despite several shots on goal, Columbus never really maintained offensive zone pressure, and went scoreless on the powerplay.
David Clarkson and Gregory Campbell provide a rush, but it is quickly snuffed out by Connor Hellebuyck ahead of the first TV timeout at 13:01.
Fight! Gregory Campbell threw down with Mark Stuart at 9:54 following a hit on William Karlsson. It would go into the books as a draw, and Campbell picked up a 10 minute misconduct. Jets to the power play.
Winnipeg goal. 3-0 at 10:48 of the first period. On the power play, Dustin Byfuglien buried one. 3 goals on 5 shots per the tracker. Assists to Mathieu Perrealut and Bryan Little.
There have been zero highlights for the Blue Jackets to this point in the game. Not one single positive thing to mention. There were 6:55 to go in the first period, and the team had produced nothing to write home about. Slow legs, sloppy play- the themes of the season continued as usual, except this time Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t in net to cover up mistakes.
GOAL! Completely against the run of play, David Savard leads a rush down the ice, and fetches the puck in the corner. He threw it at the net to a waiting Boone Jenner, who buried it for his team leading 12th of the season at 15:38. Assists went to David Savard and Ryan Johansen. It was only the 5th shot on goal of the period for the team.
Perhaps the goal energized the team, because they pressed hard for the final minutes of the period.
First period positive: we’re not getting shut out. That’s about it, folks. It was a poor period of hockey from Columbus. The Blue Jackets took only 37.5% percent of the even strength shots in the period. It was ugly all around.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
The Jackets came out looking to assert themselves in this period. Despite some shots on goal, Winnipeg had the better chances to start. There was some end to end action, and a couple nice stops by Curtis McElhinney by the 4 minute mark. Columbus was being outshot 17-6 for the game by this point.
Scott Hartnell went to the bench at 4:41, shaken up after being hit at center ice. He was doubled over the bench being tended to by a trainer, and it appeared to be a left shoulder issue.
A nice rush for Winnipeg at 6:15 that Curtis McElhinney was able to fight off. Columbus was being thoroughly outhustled and outskated at this point.
At 7:32, the shots favored Winnipeg 19-8. While not a highlight, this was a continuation of their inability to get pucks on net. It’s an issue that absolutely must be addressed.
Brandon Saad and Boone Jenner managed to generate a scramble in front of the Winnipeg net, but nothing came of it.
Power play for Winnipeg. At 8:57, Brandon Dubinsky went off for hooking.
Penalty to Winnipeg! After only 15 seconds, Blake Wheeler nullified the penalty by taking a hooking penalty for his own, leaving the teams to skate 4 on 4 for 1:45.
Both penalties elapsed with no goals surrendered by either team.
9 shots on goal for Columbus in 32+ minutes. It’s a tired point by now, but this team simply cannot generate offensive chances and provide their defense any support. It’s a terrible way to play hockey.
At 14:30, Ryan Johansen caught a nice pass from Boone Jenner, but fired his shot just wide. It was nice to see Johansen use his speed to get into the zone and get a shot off.
Columbus power play! At 18:23, Toby Enstrom took a penalty for hooking.
POWER PLAY GOAL!! Scott Hartnell at 19:04! Somehow, despite being thoroughly outplayed for the majority of the game, Columbus had clawed their way back into the game. Assists went to Alexander Wennberg and Ryan Johansen.
Jets power play. Brandon Dubinsky went off for tripping at 19:41. Scott Hartnell went to the box for Dubinsky, however, and Dubinsky went to the locker room. Hopefully it wasn't anything serious.
Second period intermission: Winnipeg Jets 3, Columbus 2. Winnipeg outshot Columbus 26-12.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Dubinsky was back out to start the third period, and he was able to serve his penalty. The Blue Jackets successfully killed the penalty.
Columbus, following the penalty kill, could not maintain possession or string passes together through the neutral zone. Nick Foligno, Andrew Bodnarchuk, and Brandon Dubinsky were all muscled off the puck in the neutral zone in one shift.
Winnipeg goal. Drew Stafford buried a rebound from a Dustin Byfuglien shot from the point under Curtis McElhinney’s five hole at 4:03.
Winnipeg goal. Pouring it on at this point. Mathieu Perreault dangles and beats Curtis McElhinney on the far post at 7:42. Assists to Schiefele and Stafford.
Dubinsky-Hartnell-Foligno managed a solid offensive zone possession with 12 minutes gone, but could not solve the Winnipeg defense.
GOAL! Cam Atkinson buries one from the slot off of a nice pass from the boards from Alexander Wennberg at 13:21.
Jackets power play! Alexander Wennberg was hooked by Ehlers with 4:53 remaining in the third period.
Columbus pulled McElhinney with 2:33 to go, after Hartnell and Thornburn took coincidental minors for roughing.
GOAL!! Cam Atkinson buried one with 1:44 to go to bring it to 5-4. Assists to Wennberg and Ryan Murray.
Winnipeg goal. With C-Mac pulled, Blake Wheeler scored with 44.3 to go. Tortorella challenged that Wheeler was offside, but it held up after review.
FINAL: Winnipeg Jets 6, Columbus Blue Jackets 4
Alexander Wennberg with 3 assists. That was nice to see.
Curtis McElhinney is no Sergei Bobrovsky, that much is certain.
The lack of intensity for 53 minutes was startling. Slow skating, pressured off the puck, poor offensive zone pressure. Rinse, repeat.
Columbus returns home on Saturday to take on the Islanders. Faceoff is at 7:00 EST in Nationwide Arena.