The youth of the organization would lead the way for the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets on this night. With injuries to Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney (who has a sprained ankle, per a team release), the Blue Jackets would turn to Saturday night’s hero, Anton Forsberg, to man the net as the Minnesota Wild came to town. As trade rumors with Nashville reportedly began to heat up, the Jackets took to the ice with some familiar faces returning to the lineup. Cody Goloubef, fresh off of the Injured Reserve, reclaimed a spot on the blue line, drawing in for Justin Falk. David Clarkson was sent to the Injured Reserve with an upper body injury, and Jared Boll would draw in for him on this night. To the highlights.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Your CBJ starters: Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Murray, David Savard, Anton Forsberg
Nervy moment just 40 seconds in, as Scott Hartnell and Nino Niederreiter both collided in the net with Forsberg. Luckily, the young goalie was alright.
It was also great to see Cody Goloubef back on the ice. After missing 6 weeks, and having the wires removed from his jaw just a week ago, Goloubef rejoined the fray.
The first 4 minutes were wide open, but featured a lot of sloppy play from both teams, with neither team generating more than one shot on net.
Chance for Minnesota. Following a deflection, Jason Pominville let fly with a one timer that appeared to fool Forsberg, but it went high and wide at 4:10.
Wild on the power play. Gregory Campbell went off for hooking Zach Parise at 4:42. Columbus, which already lead the league in penalty minutes coming in, would head to the box early. Staying disciplined has been a focus of this team, and yet is something they struggle with.
Columbus successfully killed the penalty, allowing 2 shots on goal.
The goal seemed to give the Wild some life, as they were skating rings around the Blue Jackets.
CHANCE! Devan Dubnyk denied a Nick Foligno backhand at 10:30. Shots favored Minnesota 5-4 at this point.
It was a slow start to the game, all things considered. There were a low number of shots, a lot of neutral zone turnovers, and few dangerous chances.
CHANCE!! After Brandon Saad led a quick rush, he dished the puck to Boone Jenner, who saw his shot save. Brandon Dubinsky could not get a stick on the rebound at 13:15.
ANOTHER CHANCE! At 13:30, Dubnyk was flat on his back, but Dubinsky could not find the back of the net.
CHANCE! Goloubef had a one-time shot saved at 14:10, after stepping up to join the rush.
CHANCE!!! As Atkinson blocked a shot and forced a turnover, he led a rush and dished it to a wide open Boone Jenner, but it hit Dubnyk and the crossbar before being cleared away at 16:00.
5 of Minnesota’s 8 shots at this point have been from the defensemen. The Wild hadn’t had a solid scoring chance yet, forcing a lot of shots from out wide.
Wild goal. With Dubnyk off as the Blue Jackets were facing a delayed penalty call (Ryan Johansen was set to go off for holding), Zach Parise took a wrist shot from the slot that fooled Anton Forsberg at 17:22, following some slick passing. Assists went to Mikael Granlund and Ryan Suter. Coach Tortorella challenged the call for offside, but the call on the ice stood. It was difficult to tell one way or another if Minnesota was offside (for this writer’s money, letting the call on the ice stand was the correct call).
Of note: Minnesota confirmed during the delay that captain Mikko Koivu was taken to the hospital, but had not given a further update. Best wishes to Koivu.
The first period ended with little fanfare. Minnesota led 1-0 heading into the dressing room, and had tied the Blue Jackets in shots, with each team throwing 9 at the opposing net.
Koivu update: per Michael Russo (the Wild beat writer for the Star Tribune), the "injury to Koivu happened 1:21 into the game...Crashed upper back-first hard into end wall."
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
CHANCE! Following a Dubinsky check on Parise, Cam Atkinson picked up the loose puck, but fired it high at 0:30.
Chance for Minnesota. Anton Forsberg stoned Marco Scandella from the point at 2:10.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL! Cam Atkinson’s stellar play was rewarded with a goal at 3:08. After an excellent effort by Cody Goloubef to keep the puck in the offensive zone at the right point, Scott Hartnell dished it to Atkinson in front of the net, who redirected it home. Assists to Hartnell and Goloubef.
Chance for Minnesota. Following a turnover by Ryan Johansen and a 3 on 2 rush for Minnesota, Anton Forsberg had an excellent save on Nino Niederreiter at 4:30.
AND ANOTHER SAVE!! Anton Forsberg moved across the crease to deny Niederreiter at 5:00 with the left pad. Stellar save.
CHANCE! Atkinson had an effort from the slot denied and, unfortunately, no one was there to hammer home a juicy rebound.
Chance for Minnesota. Pominville and Granlund had a 2 on 1, but it came to nothing at 8:30.
Lots of end to end action in this period, continuing the theme of the first period, but solid offensive chances were still few and far between for both teams.
Jackets on the power play! Justin Fontaine went off for high sticking Alexander Wennberg at 11:33.
Chance for Minnesota. On a shorthanded rush, Charlie Coyle saw his effort covered by Forsberg.
Penalty to David Savard. At 11:50, and attempting to defend the aforementioned rush, David Savard took a hooking penalty. The teams would skate 4 on 4 for 1:43.
Wild goal. Zach Parise buried a Mikael Granlund pass over Forsberg’s shoulder at 12:43. Assists went to Granlund and Suter.
Another odd man rush for Minnesota at 15:45. Parise just missed the net for what would have been his 3rd. Columbus simply MUST cut down on turnovers in the neutral zone and entering the offensive zone.
CHANCE! Foligno had a few attempts on the doorstep at 17:00, but could not find the back of the net.
Saad had a burst of speed at 17:50, but the puck was nudged off his stick as he tried to walk around the defense.
The Blue Jackets made a push to end the period, but could not find the equalizer.
The second period ended with the Minnesota Wild leading Columbus 2-1, and outshooting the Blue Jackets 23-20.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Zach Parise led a rush at 1:00, but the Minnesota effort was denied by Forsberg.
OH BOY. Brandon Dubinsky chipped the puck off the glass, it ricocheted at a funny angle, and it nearly went in the net at 2:15 as Dubnyk had left the crease to play the chipped puck. Dubinsky almost had an exceedingly lucky game tying goal, as it bounced agonizingly wide of the Wild net.
End to end action followed for several minutes, with neither team having a clear chance at the net.
Chance for Minnesota. At 6:21, Charlie Coyle entered the zone with speed, but was denied by Forsberg.
CHANCE! Saad looked far corner, stick side, on Dubnyk at 7:15, and just missed wide.
All night, the Blue Jackets have had no answer for Niederreiter and Granlund.
Nick Foligno was denied again on the doorstep at 11:16. A scrum followed the play, as Dubnyk shoved Foligno after the whistle.
Coincidental minors for Thomas Vanek and Nick Foligno (both drew roughing minors) at 11:16, and the teams would skate 4 on 4 for 2 minutes.
Chance for Minnesota. Jared Spurgeon, off the point, put his shot just wide at 12:00.
Neither team mustered another chance, and the penalties expired with the score remaining unchanged.
Chance for Minnesota. A 2 on 1 comes to nothing after Brandon Dubinsky hustled back to clear a pass. It should be noted the Dubinsky had his pocket picked to start the play, but recovered to deny Jason Zucker at 13:50.
Columbus looked disorganized at this moment in the game. Players were occupying the same space, were struggling to string together passes, and were having a poor time executing in the neutral zone. Credit to the Minnesota defense, who were not allowing any chances.
The Blue Jackets pulled Forsberg at 18:15.
Wild goal. Following yet another turnover in the neutral zone, Zach Parise stole the puck and fired it into the open net to complete his hat trick at 19:04.
Blue Jackets goal. With Forsberg still pulled, Nick Foligno scored with 19:45 gone in the game. Assists to Alexander Wennberg and Boone Jenner.
Wild goal. Mikael Granlund put it into the empty CBJ net at 19:47.
FINAL: Minnesota Wild 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
*** Anton Forsberg
** Ryan Suter
* Zach Parise
Cam Atkinson was everywhere in this one. He’s stepped his game up since Tortorella arrived, and it’s great to see him working so hard on both ends of the ice, and he was rewarded with a goal.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mikko Koivu.
The Blue Jackets simply must learn to show more discipline and stay out of the box. Leading the league in penalties is not something that they should continue to seemingly aspire to do.
The inability to roll 4 lines when Jared Boll plays hampers the team. The 4th line had the following ice times: Rene Bourque at 9:54, William Karlsson at 9:02, Boll at 5:00. At that low ice time, the team would be better served scratching him and playing another defenseman in that spot. It simply hurts the top 3 lines too much.
In addition to penalty problems, the Blue Jackets must address the number of neutral zone turnovers as the season goes forward.
The Blue Jackets travel to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night. Faceoff is at 7:00 EST, in the first night of a home and home series with the Canes.
Halfway through the season, Jackets fans. Hang in there.