Our resident preview guru, Dan [last name redacted], chose to go with the title "What Could Go Wrong?" for Thursday's game between the Blue Jackets and Flames. Well, Danno...let me tell you about that. What could wrong is the Jackets lose the game AND Sergei Bobrovsky. Again.
Such is life in Columbus.
After being healthy scratches last game, veterans Fedor Tyutin and Scott Hartnell returned to the lineup Thursday night.
The opening 19:50 in Nationwide Arena was mostly boring hockey. There were a few chances traded at each of the end, but barely anything to get the crowd on its feet. The period was winding down when Fedor Tyutin put forth a poor effort to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Dougie Hamilton picked up the puck at the blue line and skated in along the wall. He fired what seemed like a harmless shot from the half wall, but Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out a juicy rebound to his right in the slot. Michael Frolik ripped home the rebound for the 1-0 lead with just seconds left in the period.
It only took the CBJ a few minutes to get the tying goal in the second period. Seth Jones ripped a slap shot from the blue line. It missed the net, but after hitting the end boards the puck found its way to Scott Hartnell. The left winger slammed home the rebound past Karri Ramo for his 16th goal of the season, tying him with Boone Jenner and Brandon Saad for the team lead.
The goal was literally being announced in the arena when Calgary responded with a goal of their own. Cody Goloubef got caught off guard in the neutral zone and Sam Bennett found his way behind the defenseman. Jack Johnson was covering the 2-on-1 as you would expect, taking away the cross ice pass. Bennett still found a way to wrist the puck into the net as Bob was out of position.
From here, things got interesting. The Jackets went on the power play against the league's worst PK unit but managed to look listless. Goalie Bob spent at least one of the TV timeouts over at the bench talking with trainers. He finally left the game midway through the period with a lower body injury and was done for the night.
A few minutes after Joonas Korpisalo came into the game, the Jackets were taking an offensive zone faceoff. Brandon Dubinsky won it back to Cam Atkinson who fed Ryan Murray at the blue line. Murary shot the puck on net with his newly-curved stick. Dubinsky was there to swat home the rebound and tie the game at 2-2 at the 17:56 mark.
The Flames wasted little time in regaining the lead in the third period. Johnny Gaudreau skated the puck into the zone (what is this concept, Jackets?) and held onto the puck for awhile. He made his way to below the right faceoff dot and then let loose an unexpected wicked wrister past Korpisalo. There was a tiny window open and Gaudreau managed to find it.
Later in the period, Dalton Prout had a bad shift leading to the insurance goal for Calgary. Prout failed to clear out of the defensive zone and the Flames gained control. Just seconds later in the sequence, Kris Russell fired a shot from the blue line. The puck went wide of the net to the boards behind Korpisalo, but Sam Bennett broke free from, you guessed it, Dalton Prout. Bennett continued around behind the net to the opposite side and deposited the puck into the net.
There were offsetting minors just over a minute later and the CBJ pulled Korpisalo during the 4-on-4 time in an effort to find their third goal of the game. They never really threatened over the last few minutes and the largely boring game came to a dull end.
Well, the main story in this one is another injury to Bobrovsky. Lower-body sounds like it is a really good chance to be that groin again. If it is, it seems inexcusable he would have been cleared just a few days ago. Was he not 100%? Has that injury hampered him in the game and a half he has played since coming back from IR? These are just a couple questions Jarmo Kekalainen will probably face tomorrow when the club hopes to get an update on its $7.425 million goaltender.
As for the game, it was a rather boring affair and another loss. That seems to be the norm as of late.
The Jackets will hold an outdoor practice Friday (the 22nd) to open up Winter Park. They will then hit the road for their next game Saturday night in Boston. As noted above, the team expects to have an update on Bob at some point on Friday.