After the 16 game win streak, many fans kept saying “The team could go .500 the rest of the year and make the playoffs.”
It appears the Blue Jackets may test that theory.
The Blue Jackets announced that Sergei Bobrovsky would miss the contest due to illness, giving newly recalled Anton Forsberg the start, while Joonas Korpisalo would be called up from Cleveland in the wake of Curtis McElhinney being claimed off waivers by Toronto.
This would have been challenging enough, but the Jackets would also lose the services of Matt Calvert, who took the morning skate and warmups, but would be scratched due to illness as well.
It started well, with Cam Atkinson scoring his 20th early in the first period after a scramble around the crease.
Both teams took some attempts at the first period, but poor ice and bouncing pucks lead to very little danger for either Forsberg or Cam Ward in the Carolina net, until the final seconds of the frame, where Cam Atkinson appeared to score - but the video evidence was too inconclusive to overturn the call of No Goal on the ice.
Carolina would tie the game early in the second thanks to Jeff Skinner scoring on the rush, then take the lead off a goal by Derek Ryan a few minutes later.
Josh Anderson would tie the game off of a turnover, but the Hurricanes would take a 3-2 lead again thanks to Brock McGinn scoring off of a deflection that appeared to go in off of a defender’s back.
Still, despite the period being firmly swung in the direction of the home team, Brandon Saad would get a goal in the final minute of the period, leaving the game tied 3-3 in the second. A rough period, but still a winnable game.
Jordan Staal would put the Hurricanes back on top with a long shot that took another pinball bounce past Forsberg, and despite the Jackets’ best efforts that score would stand into the final three minutes of play, when Forsberg would be called to the bench for an extra attacker.
The Jackets had two great looks at the net, and seemed like they might reverse their fate from Sunday by forcing OT, but Victor Rask would recover the puck in the neutral zone and fill the empty net, for the final score of 5-3.
The TV broadcast crew blamed a short bench and bad ice for a lot of the team’s woes, but this was a sloppy, messy game from start to finish, and it’s hard to imagine the coaching staff is happy with the club’s performance this evening.