Though Sergei Bobrovsky was activated earlier in the day, the starter's job was given to Joonas Korpisalo against the Avalanche, thanks to his strong performance on Wednesday against Toronto. Korpisalo was the story last night, turning away 29 of 30 shots to earn the victory, and was named first star of the game.
The Jackets needed just 58 seconds to open the scoring, with Ryan Murray carrying the puck deep into the Avalanche zone, before dropping a pass to Brandon Dubinsky in the slot. Dubinsky flipped the puck past Calvin Pickard for the 1-0 lead.
The game was physical from the get-go, with lots of pace from either side in the first period. You can clearly see that when the Jackets are at their best, they are changing often, and when on the ice they are putting forth short, intense bursts.
The teams would alternate penalties later in the period, with neither team able to change the score.
As fast and intense the Jackets were in the first, they were just the opposite in the second period. It was as though they played in a lower gear for the middle third of the game, waiting for the game to come to them. Colorado picked up on this, and turned up the heat.
At 6:02, the Avs took advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone to tie the game. William Karlsson made a nice defensive play at his blueline, passing the puck to Jared Boll on the right wing. Boll lost track of the puck in his feet, allowing Chris Bigras to gather the puck, before sending Chris Wagner into the offensive zone. Wagner passed the puck to Jarome Iginla, who dragged and shot the puck low toward the Columbus net. Wagner was able to redirect the puck behind Korpisalo.
The Jackets had a good chance to retake the lead with Alex Tanguay in the box for high-sticking, but were unable to convert while up a man. The powerplay is seemingly in flux, moving away from the drop-pass to a forward play that everybody uses now. With the addition of Jones, they have a new toy to play with and once they integrate his skill set into the powerplay, things will turn around.
The best chance of the period for the Jackets came shorthanded, with Boone Jenner in the box. After a turnover Cam Atkinson skated in on Pickard, waiting for backup in the form of Karlsson. Cam sent the puck toward the net, beating the defender, but as Karlsson went to kick the puck from his skate to his stick, he missed his stick blade and the puck went into the net off the kick. It was quickly waved off, but it was reviewed and the call confirmed. In a bit of a humorous turn of events, it looked like Dubinsky was giving the ref a hard time, and when he announced the result of the review he initially said "good goal" and pointed to center ice. He quickly skated over to the scorer's table and made the correct "no goal" signal. I wonder what Dubi said to throw him off?
The third period was a mixed bag of sloppiness, followed by really good hockey by both squads. The pace really picked up again midway through the period, and Korpisalo held the fort down. The Jackets dodged a bullet when the Avs were given a powerplay for too-many-men by Columbus. It was a dumb penalty: after jawing with Nikita Zadorov, Scott Hartnell got into it with the Colorado bench as he was skating off the ice for a change. Jenner came on for Hartnell, and just as Jenner touched the puck, Hartnell stopped on the ice to give one last verbal dart to the opposition bench. This led to six gents on the ice, and an unhappy coach. The Jackets would kill the penalty.
With overtime looming, the Jackets caught a break. With 1:07 left, Jack Johnson floated a shot toward Pickard, with Cody McLeod kicking out his leg to attempt a block. In doing so he either redirected the puck, or threw Pickard off enough that the puck beat both Avalanche players.
Coach Patrick Roy pulled his goalie on the ensuing center ice faceoff, and would leave his goalie out for a defensive zone faceoff seconds later. The Jackets didn't score in the empty net.
FINAL SCORE: 2-1 Jackets
For the advanced stats for this game, be sure to check out War on Ice.
The Jackets are at home Tuesday against the Caps.