The Jackets and Penguins met Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, with both clubs icing veteran-laden rosters. Sergei Bobrovsky and Jeff Zatkoff went the distance for their respective teams in net.
The game was fast-paced and physical from the get-go, with the Jackets dominating in the shot department. The Columbus coaches were no doubt fine with this, as they are trying to avoid the slow starts to the season that have plagued them in recent seasons. The more real and intense the games are in the pre-season, the better.
William Karlsson had a great chance midway on a partial break, but was denied by Zatkoff. "Wild BIll" will be among the first callups for the Jackets if/when his services are required. He's not afraid to throw his weight around, either.
With 3:12 left in the first period, the Jackets opened the scoring. Jared Boll fed a beauty pass to the front of the net, where Boone Jenner was there to tip the puck past Zatkoff. The play was off a 3-on-2, and you have to give full credit to Boll on the setup.
1-0 Jackets: Boone Jenner (Jared Boll, David Savard)
Things then started to get chippy. Brett Gallant, a well-known pugilist at the AHL level, laid a hard hit on Penguin defender Olli Maatta. On Gallant's next shift, Steve Oleksy sought some form of retribution, and the pair squared off. Decision Gallant. On the ensuing faceoff, former Jacket and noted shithead Tom Sestito gave Brandon Dubinsky a bump in the faceoff circle. Naturally Dubinsky gave him a corresponding whack, and the two dropped the mitts. Dalton Prout jumped in, followed by Oleg Yevenko, and the result was Game Misconducts for Prout and Sestito, while Dubinsky was given a slashing call. Sestito was also given a fighting major.
With seven seconds left in the opening period, Johansen gave the Jackets a two-goal lead, finishing off a cross-crease pass from Brandon Saad. The pair looked as though they had been playing together for years at times during this game.
2-0 Jackets: Ryan Johansen (Brandon Saad)
The teams started four-on-four to start the second period, and once Dubinsky's penalty expired the Jackets went on the powerplay. It took little time for Johansen to pot his second of the game, lifting the puck over Zatkoff in-tight.
3-0 Jackets: Ryan Johansen 2 (Scott Hartnell, Ryan Murray)
As it was a major penalty, the Jackets remained on the man-advantage and the red-hot Johansen fed Scott Hartnell for a one-time wrister, which beat Zatkoff up high.
4-0 Jackets: Scott Hartnell (Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno)
The Penguins' lethal top line came together for the Pens' opening goal at the 6:30 mark of the second period. Like him or not, Kessel is going to score a shit-ton of goals for Pittsburgh this year. Chris Kunitz rounds out the line nicely.
4-1 Jackets: Sidney Crosby (Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz)
With seconds left in the second period, the Pens cut the lead in half, when Kessel fired a shot that snuck through Bobrovsky's gear to cut the Jackets' lead in half. The primary apple was from Sergei Plotnikov, who for the fantasy hockey managers in the audience is one hell of a sleeper pick.
4-2 Jackets: Phil Kessel (Sergei Plotnikov, Ian Cole)
The third period didn't see any goals, and outside of the teams trading penalties, it was fairly uneventful. The Jackets' projected top-nine forwards and top-four defense played in this game, giving a very good indicator of what the team is capable of. They didn't defeat the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins tonight, the Jackets defeated Crosby, Kessel, Kunitz et al in their building, and looked good doing it.
FINAL SCORE: 4-2 Jackets
- Ryan Johansen was a stud tonight. 'Nuff said.
- With the likes of Prout, Boll, Gallant and if he's signed, Yevenko, the Jackets and Monsters won't be putting up with anybody's shit this season.
- Hartnell continues to show no signs of slowing down. He was great tonight.
Bottom of the Barrel
- We'll hold off on this until the real games start.
The Jackets return to preseason action on Tuesday, when they face the Predators in Nashville.