Of course the NHL has Columbus end the season on a back to back. Could it be any more fitting? After opening the season with 3 games in 4 days in 3 different cities (thanks, NHL!), the Columbus Blue Jackets followed Friday’s game against Buffalo with a "home" game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
I’ll be honest- I sold my tickets to this one. I wanted literally nothing to do with being surrounded by Blackhawks fans in Nationwide Arena ahead of what could only be predicted to be an absolute destruction. No thank you.
All things, no matter how awful, come to an end eventually. When you can have reasonable discussions if this season is more disappointing than the low points of 2011-12, then the franchise must ask some difficult questions of itself. There will be an entire offseason to debate them, and the Cannon will help to facilitate that discussion. Stay tuned in the offseason.
In the meantime, there was an actual game to play. 60 more minutes in this long, unending nightmare of a season before we could all finally relax and de-stress, and we’ve certainly earned it. As far as team news goes, Josh Anderson and Oliver Bjorkstrand went back to the Lake Erie Monsters. Sergei Bobrovsky would start for the home team in net.
Let’s get to the highlights.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Your CBJ starters: Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Ryan Murray, Brandon Dubinsky, Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson
For Chicago, Corey Crawford returned to the lineup tonight. Jonathan Toews would sit.
Blackhawks goal. Patrick Kane scored on a set piece 9 seconds into the game. That was ugly. Panarin was wide open in the center of the ice and fed it to Kane, who fired in a slapper from the right faceoff dot. Assists to Artemi Panarin and Dennis Rasmussen. It was Kane’s 40th point in 38 games against Columbus, and his 45th of the season.
Columbus did have the next 5 shots on net, so yay. But none went in.
There are so many Blackhawks fans in the arena. It’s kind of disheartening.
Chicago is so much faster than most every player on the Jackets roster, save for Brandon Saad. Columbus, as a roster, needs to get so much faster.
End to end action through the first half of the period. Columbus had pushed back, and Saad as well as Alexander Wennberg were generating chances, but nothing of note.
Power play for Chicago at 11:12. Nick Foligno went off for tripping Andrew Desjardins.
Panarin rang one off the crossbar at 11:10.
Blackhawks goal. At 11:25, Panarin beat Bobrovsky high glove side for his 29th of the season. Assists to Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook.
Seth Jones had a chance on the doorstep at 13:30.
Blackhawks goal. On a breakaway after a stolen pass from Seth Jones, Panarin beat Sergei Bobrovsky on a really soft goal that Bob should’ve had at 14:06.
I mean… At least no one’s gotten hurt?
Chicago has 3 goals on 5 shots.
I could say this game has been close because the Jackets are outshooting the Blackhawks, and just need some puck luck. I’d be lying.
Power play for Chicago. David Savard went off for tripping at Dale Weise at 19:12.
Panarin nearly had his hat trick goal at 19:58, but Bobrovsky denied him.
After one period, Chicago led 3-0. Columbus outshot Chicago 10-8.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Brent Seabrook went off for tripping Brandon Dubinsky at 0:50, nullifying the power play.
Brandon Saad hit the post at 1:15.
The Blackhawks killed the penalty, allowing 2 shots.
Seth Jones had been stapled to the bench after the third goal- he hadn’t played in the first 5 minutes of the second period since giving up the goal.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL. Scott Hartnell deflected a shot in at 6:29 to make it 3-1. He snuck in behind Crawford and directed a pass in. Assists to Brandon Saad and Alexander Wennberg.
Crawford denied Rene Bourque on a wrap around.
Cam Atkinson couldn’t get a stick on the puck to fire home a puck at a WIDE open net at 12:00.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL. Matt Calvert stole the puck on a forecheck and just fired it past Crawford. William Karlsson was instrumental in that chance, tying up the crease. Dalton Prout with the lone assist at 12:55.
Seth Jones still hasn’t played in the second period, with 4 minutes to go.
KNEEL BEFORE SAAD. Tic tac toe sets up Brandon Saad with a wide open net. Assists to Wennberg and Hartnell at 17:00.
Well, damn. I’ve not seen anything that nice this whole year. That play was BEAUTIFUL.
Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky nearly took the lead for Columbus.
Where’s this been all season?
After 40 minutes, it was tied 3-3.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Seth Jones was on the ice to start the third period. Apparently it was a 20 minute punishment.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL. Alexander Wennberg with the goal! Hartnell fed Wennberg from below the net, who wasted no time burying it for his 8th of the season, and third point of the night. Assists to Scott Hartnell and Ryan Murray at 3:09.
Penalty to Columbus. Matt Calvert went off for roughing at 5:35.
Bobrovsky denied Panarin on a one timer at 7:05.
The Blue Jackets killed the penalty.
Blackhawks goal. Patrick Kane with his second. Panarin took the puck off the wall and fed Kane at 9:49, who buried it from the slot.
Lots of end to end action through the end of the game.
Penalty to the Jackets. Nick Foligno went off for interference at 16:29.
Bobrovsky denied Kane at 17:40.
Penalty to Columbus. David Savard went off for slashing at 17:42.
Brandon Dubisnky was tossed for arguing the call.
Bob denied Panarin several times with a 5 on 3.
Cam Atkinson was denied shorthanded at 19:15.
After regulation, they were tied at 4.
BONUS HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS
Figures this crappy hockey team just won’t let the misery end.
ATKINSON DENIED AT 1:30.
Power play for Columbus. Teuvo Teravainen went off for hooking Atkinson at 1:34.
CAMSANITY WINS IT FOR COLUMBUS. To cap the season, Cam Atkinson one timed a feed from Seth Jones off of Scott Hartnell and into the net. Capping the season with a win is fun.
*** Brandon Saad
** Alexander Wennberg
* Scott Hartnell
Congratulations to Scott Hartnell on his 300th NHL goal.
Ryan Murray, Gregory Campbell, and Boone Jenner played all 82 games. Good for all of them, especially the youngsters, who had been plagued by injuries.
That first period just illustrates exactly how far this team is from contending. Chicago was missing their captain, their second line center, and just got their goalie back (so he should be "rusty" like Bob has been) and they completely beat the doors off of Columbus. Neither team had anything at all to play for, and Columbus was absolutely slaughtered.
This game ALSO illustrates what it means to build around a core. The Blackhawks have a core of Kane, Toews, Crawford, and Duncan Keith, whom they’ve surrounded with solid talent that is decently priced. They don’t wickedly overpay the likes of Campbell, Prout, Foligno, etc. This is the type of franchise the Blue Jackets should be modeling, not the New York Knicks.
The second period? Exactly what this team can be. The Blue Jackets played with poise, forechecked HARD, attacked the Blackhawks net, and through everything they could in the general direction of the net. Lo and behold, they found the back of the net three times.
Alexander Wennberg … man, if he figures out how to score consistently, he’s gonna be a good one.
Thanks to all of you who have made this season tolerable. It’s genuinely been a pleasure to write for the Cannon, to interact with each and every one of you every day, and to share this corner of the internet with you. We might disagree, I might wear my heart on my sleeve too much, whatever. I’m genuinely thrilled to spend my time discussing a team we all love with you guys every single day.
Thank you for the season, Blue Jackets. It might not have been what we hoped, but I love you nonetheless.
It is the offseason, Jackets fans. This abysmal season is, mercifully, over. The NHL Draft Lottery is on April 30th. Hopefully we get some good news and win the thing.