The Jackets have been dreadful at home of late, but after a sweep of Western Canada they took a boatload of late-season momentum into a matchup against the Anaheim Ducks, one of the NHL's elite teams. The battle in net was between Sergei Bobrovsky and John Gibson.
This game saw the return of James Wisniewski to Columbus, and the debut of William Karlsson, who we've been told would like to be called "Bill". Welcome to Columbus, Bill.
There was a clear indication early in this game that it would be a physical affair, with Scott Hartnell giving Ryan Getzlaf an extra shot in front of his bench. This started a scrum, with Hartnell and Clayton Stoner exchanging pleasantries. Hartnell was sent to the box for his part, and with three seconds left in the penalty Ryan Kesler gave his team the lead after cleaning up the mess in front of Bobrovsky.
1-0 Ducks: Ryan Kesler - Rickard Rackell, Kyle Palmieri
A few minutes later, the Jackets got into penalty trouble again, with Artem Anisimov heading to the box for hooking. This time the Ducks were unable to do any damage on the powerplay. For such an elite team, and despite the Kesler goal, it's surprising that such a lethal team has such a mediocre powerplay.
Just as the Anisimov penalty expired, the Jackets were given a chance on the man advantage when Ryan Johansen was hauled down by Simon Despres as he carried the puck up-ice. No joy for Columbus, however.
At the 14:21 mark, the Ducks went up by two. Andrew Cogliano, one of the fastest skaters in the league, showcased his superpower in taking the puck from deep in his end all the way up to Bobrovsky, beating him with a sneaky shot. A truly beautiful goal.
2-0 Ducks: Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson
The rough stuff continued soon after, with Marko Dano taking a swipe at Despres near the Anaheim net. Palmieri came in late, cross-checking Dano and earning himself a deuce in the box. This time, the Jackets were able to take advantage, with Johansen feeding a sweet pass through traffic to Hartnell, who was in the perfect position to redirect the puck past Gibson.
2-1 Ducks: Scott Hartnell - Ryan Johansen, Jack Johnson
With 1:59 left in the opening period, David Savard was whistled for charging after he bee-lined, then left his feet to make a hit on a Duck player. However, just 11 seconds into the Duck powerplay, Johansen was tripped up by Wisniewski as he took off on a shorthanded two-on-one. Neither team would convert while four-on-four.
Early in the second period, Bob showed again that he won't put up with any foolishness like late whacks or opposition players near his crease. He discretely tripped up a Duck forward, with no call, despite the protests of the Anaheim skaters. I for one love seeing Bob give guys the business. He's no Billy Smith, but it's great to see him own his crease.
The physicality boiled over after a big hit by Jared Boll on Patrick Maroon, who was obviously dazed after receiving the blow. When he hopped back on the ice seconds later, he skated by the Columbus bench, letting Boll know if his displeasure for the hit. Naturally, the Columbus bench verbally tore him to shreds, and Boone Jenner applied two big hits on Maroon once play resumed. Mission failed for Maroon.
At the 5:31 mark, Boll dropped the mitts with Stoner Decision: Boller, in a big way.
The Boll fight energized the Jackets, and minutes later they tied the game. After a defensive zone turnover by the Ducks, the puck found Cam Atkinson, who's shot was blocked, flipping straight into the air, landing in the blue paint. Johansen crashed the net, and amid the chaos Jenner and Atkinson threw their hands up in celebration. The call on the ice was no goal, and it was reviewed at length, before it was determined to be a good goal.
2-2: Ryan Johansen - Cam Atkinson
Just as play resumed, Fedor Tyutin was sent to the box for hooking. Just as the penalty expired, Matt Beleskey received a pass from Corey Perry in front of Bobrovsky, beating him just over his glove to retake the lead.
3-2 Ducks: Matt Beleskey - Corey Perry, James Wisniewski
In a reversal of fortune for the Jackets, they were able to get a quick one to tie the game. As the Beleskey goal was being announced, Jakob Silfverberg turned the puck over to Dano just inside the CBJ side of center ice. Dano found Bill Karlsson, who sent a beauty pass to Hartnell at the Ducks blueline. Hartnell made no mistake in wiring a shot past Gibson to knot the game at three.
3-3: Scott Hartnell - Bill Karlsson, Marko Dano
The helper was Karlsson's first point as a Jacket. Due to the large number of special teams situations tonight, Karlsson only played 12:02, but in that time I was impressed with his play with the puck, though I didn't see him engaged in many physical battles. He's definitely a player though.
Just over a minute later, the Jackets took their first lead of the game. After some great work behind the net by Anisimov, Jeremy Morin gathered the puck, firing a pass to Nick Foligno in the slot, who wired a shot into the Anaheim net.
4-3 Jackets: Nick Foligno - Jeremy Morin, Artem Anisimov
With 1:26 left in the second, Maroon attempted to reclaim some pride by dropping the gloves with Dalton Prout. Bad decision. Though Maroon was able to pop off a couple quick pops with his gripping hand, Prout fed him body shots and at least one upper-cut, before the pair was broken up by the linesmen.
With less than a minute left in the period, Savard was initially called for elbowing Corey Perry, but after a ref huddle the call was changed to roughing for Savard, while Perry was called for embellishment. Savard had missed his check, but did graze Perry with a forearm shiver. Good call.
Early in the third the Ducks had a great chance to tie the game on the powerplay, after a missed stick-lift by Kevin Connauton that resulted in a high-stick. The Ducks didn't score, but they applied a ton of pressure on the powerplay, and for minutes afterward. If not for the heroics of Bobrovsky, the Ducks could have had a goal or two.
With about five minutes left, we almost had one of those rare Corey Tropp highlight-reel goals. He deked the Anaheim defenders out of their pants, but fanned on his shot. Seriously, when the guy wants to score he makes it as pretty as possible.
Gibson was pulled with around 90 seconds left, but it was the Jackets who found paydirt. Hartnell was sprung by Atkinson, and showed serious hustle in winning the puck behind the empty Anaheim net, before delicately wrapping the puck around the post and over the goal line. The hats rained on to the ice from the stands.
5-3 Jackets: Scott Hartnell - Cam Atkinson, David Savard
FINAL SCORE: 5-3 Jackets
- Hartnell continued his amazing month of March. His hat trick was the first by a Jacket since April 5, 2012 when Atkinson turned the trick. After his third goal, Hartnell gave a salute, which the boys on the bench made sure to rib him for. It was great to see them having so much fun.
- Bob was vintage Bob.
- Atkinson and Johansen had two points each, while Foligno added to his goal total. It was a great night for the offensive leaders for the CBJ.
- Congrats to Bill for his first point as a Jacket, against his former team, no less.
- I'll just say here that the Jackets need to do a better job of staying out of the box, otherwise it was a terrific, fun effort by the home squad.