As the Blue Jackets traveled to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins in their final action before Christmas, they did so without their captain. Nick Foligno was "nicked up" per coach Tortorella, and would not skate. Jack Johnson returned to the lineup after his two game absence, and Joonas Korpisalo would get the start in net following his first win in the NHL. To the highlights!
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Your CBJ starters: Matt Calvert, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray, Jack Johnson, and Joonas Korpisalo
Matt Calvert with the early chance! Calvert was sprung on an early clearing pass, but was denied by Matt Murray.
Quick start to the game. Both teams were looking to test inexperienced goalies early.
The Blue Jackets carried possession for the first 5 minutes, but were unable to generate many chances, registering just 3 shots on goal in the first five minutes.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL!! Alexander Wennberg pots one at 5:41. After Fedor Tyutin threw a pass off of the wall, it skipped across the goal mouth where Wennberg buried it from the slot. Assists to Tyutin and Brandon Saad.
Penguins chance, but Korpisalo denies the opportunity at 6:00.
End to end action through the middle of the period, with few offensive chances materializing. Columbus appeared out of sorts in their own end, but only gave up a couple shots on goal.
Jackets on the power play! Evgeni Malkin went off for elbowing Justin Falk at 11:30.
David Clarkson started on the power play with Wennberg, Hartnell, Johansen, and Murray.
5 on 3! David Clarkson was slashed in front of the net by Matt Cullen at 12:06, resulting in 1:24 of a two man advantage. Columbus put 5 forwards on the ice. Wennberg, Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, Scott Hartnell, and Brandon Dubinsky.
5 on 3 killed. Pittsburgh did an excellent job blocking the Blue Jackets shots, not allowing even a single clear chance while 2 men down.
Penalty killed. The Blue Jackets failed to get any dangerous pucks to the net, and the Pittsburgh crowd was into the game for the first time all night.
Rene Borque had a half chance on a long clearing pass after the conclusion of the power plays, but was denied by the Penguins’ Murray, who also made a stellar stop on Matt Calvert’s follow up.
Craig Hartsburg, when interviewed, did not like the power play effort by the Blue Jackets.
Delay for repairs. At 16:54, Ryan Johansen laid a big hit onto Ian Cole, which dislodged (but did not break) a pane of glass in the corner of the rink. The glass nearly clipped a child, and Johansen skated over and gave the child one of his sticks during the delay. Classy move by #19.
Pittsburgh pressed hard after the delay. Ryan Murray edged Trevor Daley off the puck right in front of Korpisalo with just over 2 minutes remaining.
SAVE, KORPISALO! The young netminder moved laterally to deny Scott Wilson with seconds to go in the period.
The period ended with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0. Pittsburgh outshot the CBJ 12-9.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
FIGHT! Brandon Dubinsky took down Eric Fehr following a series of cross checks from the Pittsburgh player. Dubinsky, not knowing for backing down, addressed the issue, landing mostly lefts early in the period. Dubinsky went to the box to a chorus of boos.
Penguins power play. Korpisalo was called for delay of game at 1:43 of the period, served by David Clarkson.
Penguins goal. Power play tally for Evgeni Malkin. Malkin buried a wrister after a mess in front of the net at 3:06. The goal was reviewed and upheld after checking to see if Evgeni Malkin was offside. Assists to Trevor Daley and David Perron.
Penguins goal. Phil Kessel on a breakaway at 4:24. Poor defending from Columbus, who let Kessel sneak behind them. Assists to Nick Bonino and Scott Wilson.
Pittsburgh carried the run of play ever since they killed the 5-on-3 in the first period. Clearly the aggressors, dictating pace to Columbus.
Penguins power play. After Malkin was upended in the CBJ zone, Boone Jenner went off for tripping. Scott Wilson also challenged Jenner to a fight, which Jenner handled with ease. Final tally: Wilson took 5 minutes for fighting, Jenner took 2 minutes for tripping and 5 minutes for fighting. It was pretty clearly unintentional knee contact, as Jenner never extended his knee to meet Malkin’s; it was just an unfortunate collision that Malkin got the worse end of. Malkin got off the ice and went down to the locker room under his own power. All of this happened at 8:03 of the second period. @myregularface has the video below.
Jenner hit on Malkin, who appears to have hurt his knee pic.twitter.com/AaBQibRk3s— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 22, 2015
CHANCE! Calvert and Karlsson had a 2-on-1 while shorthanded, but Murray made the save.
The Blue Jackets killed the penalty successfully.
Korpisalo juggled and saved a shot at 11:20.
Evgeni Malkin returned to the ice during a TV timeout at 11:20.
Columbus hadn’t mustered any offensive zone pressure in the second period. The CBJ had only 4 shots on goal through 12 minutes.
Ugly, ugly hockey from the Blue Jackets. Extended shifts in the defensive zone, Pittsburgh domination, a shot off the post at 14:30 following a turnover in the neutral zone- this was not a period to write home about.
Penguins goal. That was a long time coming. Phil Kessel buries a puck from Nick Bonino after a puck bounces away from Fedor Tyutin, who had been having a night to forget. The goal from Kessel was scored at 16:00, and assisted by Bonino and Olli Maatta. Dalton Prout misplayed the rush, but was left pretty hung out to dry.
CHANCE! Borque on the rush puts it right into Murray’s chest.
Penguins power play. Rene Borque went off for cross checking at the 18:00 mark. It was a bit of a soft call, but Borque has to know better than to risk something like that with the official standing nearby.
Penguins goal. David Warsofsky at 19:15 for his first NHL point.
Penguins 4 Blue Jackets 1 at the end of 2 periods. Terrible all the way around. There’s no other way to spin it. That may have been the worst period the team has played since Tortorella took over.
Justin Falk, on the period: "We spent too much time in our own zone." That, my friends, was the understatement of the season.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Dalton Prout had a shot on goal, so that was more offensive prowess than the Blue Jackets showed in the entire second period.
Chance for Pittsburgh. Korpisalo was caught way out of position, but the Penguins could not finish the play.
Chance for Pittsburgh off the post. Chris Kunitz rang one at 3:00. The theme from the second period continued: possession dominated the Penguins, who looked to be miles better than the Blue Jackets skaters on this night. 4 goals and 2 more off the post.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL! Who knew that was offense was allowed? Ryan Johansen beat two Penguins to find Boone Jenner, who buried it at 5:23. Jenner’s 13th tied him for the team lead. Assists to Johansen and Andrew Bodnarchuk.
The Blue Jackets pushed hard in the minutes following the goal. They were able to generate several offensive zone shifts and some shots on goal.
SAVE! Korpisalo denied Kunitz on a rush at 8:15.
Jackets on the power play! Ben Lovejoy to the sin bin for holding at 10:29.
It took 65 seconds for the CBJ to establish offensive zone possession on the power play.
Another kill for Pittsburgh after another terrible power play for the Blue Jackets in which the CBJ registered zero shots on goal.
Penguins chance. Malkin with a nice move at 16:00 to completely undress the CBJ defense, but his shot went wide.
The Blue Jackets appeared out of sync trying to get the extra skater on. Several missed passes before gaining the offensive zone.
Penguins goal. Evgeni Malkin’s second of the night made it 5-2. The Blue Jackets could not set up a solid possession with the extra skater on the ice, and Malkin made them pay.
Dalton Prout lays several cross checks on Sergei Plotnikov, earning a 4 minute double minor with 58 seconds to go.
FINAL: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2
*** Evgeni Malkin
** Boone Jenner
* Phil Kessel
We get a break in the schedule! Who knew that the NHL would be courteous enough to give us a few days off?
Good teams find a way to score with a two man advantage for nearly 90 seconds. The Blue Jackets must make the most of those chances.
The blue line was awful tonight. No one to single out, as no one played well on defense.
Matt Calvert had a positive night up front. He brought the energy every shift, and had several chances.
Ryan Johansen looked good tonight. He was engaged, played well in all 3 zones, and had a very nice feed to Boone Jenner for the Blue Jackets’ second goal.
The Blue Jackets are off until Saturday, when they will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning. Faceoff is at 7:00 EST.