After two days without games following Columbus’s Tuesday win at Carolina in overtime, the Blue Jackets hosted the New York Rangers in the first game of a back-to-back weekend special. A sluggish start put the boys in blue behind, but the Jackets turned in a dominant third (that really started late in the second) to pull out the win.
It appeared Columbus jumped to a quick lead when a David Savard shot glanced off a Matt Calvert screen 27 seconds in, but the officials overturned the goal after review showed Calvert bumping Henrik Lundqvist:
The Jackets found themselves on the kill soon after when new-contract bad-boy Alexander Wennberg slashed Chris Kreider. The Rangers came up empty on the game’s first power play as Columbus refuted several chances, including a Rick Nash shot from in close.
Sergei Bobrovsky carried his team through the first period. No. 72 made some big stops early, including waiting out Pavel Buchnevich to keep the game scoreless:
Columbus went on the power play with 7:33 to go thanks to a Kevin Hayes slashing infraction, but nothing doing. The Jackets created some key shots from Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin with no goals to show on the advantage despite heavy possession.
New York capitalized for their only goal right after the penalty ended. Newly sprung Kevin Hayes, right out of the box, collected a misplayed drop pass from Seth Jones and fired one past Bobrovsky with 5:25 to go. 1-0 Rangers on a head-scratcher from Jones.
Foreshadowing: Jones would make up for his mistake.
Columbus buzzed the Rangers net in the final two minutes, forechecking heavily and changing lines while keeping the exhausted visitors penned in. You got the feeling that if the period lasted a minute or two more, the game might’ve been tied at the break. Alas, it was 1-0 Rangers after 20 minutes.
The second started much like the first. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Columbus looked completely uninterested in taking care of the puck for long stretches. Whether it was Panarin throwing it blindly in front, Jones throwing it around to nobody behind the net or point passes to nobody that go out of the zone, sloppy play ruled the early going.
Luckily for the home side, Bobrovsky continued to keep the deficit at one.
Zach Werenski headed off in pain after sliding into the boards midway through the frame but would return. The CBJ killed off another Wennberg penalty (this time for hooking) and created a juicy scoring chance when Nick Foligno collected a loose drop pass (similar to Jones’s miscue in the first) and fired wide on his shot, in part because of a Ryan McDonagh slash.
No shots for Columbus on the McDonagh power play and no shots on the following power play at 14:03 when Paul Carey went off for holding. With a couple of young players on the PP you expect some growing pains, but hopefully they’ll figure it out sooner rather than later.
The Jackets struck paydirt in the final minute of the second period. The puck worked its way to Jones thanks to Werenski and Wennberg and the big defenseman fired a shot that glanced off Mika Zibanejad and past Lundqvist. 1-1 tie heading into the second intermission.
Remember how the Jackets struggled to keep their heads above water to start the second? Well, the shoe went firmly on the other foot to start the third, forcing Lundqvist to stand on his head to keep the game even in the first six minutes.
And then...the Breadman. Finally.
Since Panarin tallied three assists in the season opener, we’ve been waiting for him to break through again. Tonight, he did. Panarin collected the puck and scored with a goal that saw him weave through the several Rangers and fire one past Lundqvist for a 2-1 Columbus lead. Look upon your Breadman:
After, Folingo and Smith went off for roughing at 8:40 of the third to make it a 4-on-4. No score, but a media timeout served to reset the game at 9:15. Jackets in front, 2-1, everyone with their full complement of players.
The Blue Jackets missed a beautiful chance in front as a opportunistic pass skidded past a wide-open Josh Anderson, and the game stayed at 2-1 at the final media timeout with 4:44 remaining in regulation.
White-knuckle from there on in. Bobrovsky stoned Nash, Calvert nearly converted and Lukas Sedlak took a penalty with 2:15. On the PK, Columbus continued to away the Rangers and Sedlak potted an empty-netter to seal the 3-1 win.
- Pale Dragon passed the above image along from HockeyViz.com showing the CBJ’s even-strength unblocked shot locations. Keep that up.
- The Blue Jackets have six points in three games against Metropolitan opponents (New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers). That’s as well as you can do. Now, 10 straight against non-Metro teams, starting at Minnesota tomorrow night.
- The Rangers are off to their worst start since the 2013-14 season, when they began 1-4-0.
- The story last year, tonight, and I’m guessing more than a few games this year too: Bob kept the Blue Jackets afloat until the offense kicked in and Columbus won. That’s why he makes all that money.
- Seth Jones made an extremely unJoneslike play that immediately led to an NYR goal and Lukas Sedlak took a bad penalty in the final minutes. What happened to both players after their mistakes? They scored. When your goats become your goals, that’s a good sign.
- That power play needs some work. 0/3 tonight. That said, New York entered fourth in the NHL (31.3 percent) and went 0-fer on four chances. Happy with that.
- Matt Calvert really has been one of the most consistent players throughout this season. He’s always in the mix.
- Excellent to see the Breadman in the goal column. The CBJ signed him to break games open, and his “F this, it’s mine” score turned out to be the winner.
- The early disallowed goal and the Rangers go-ahead took the crowd out of it to start, but you could hear ‘em once the home side showed signs of life. This is gonna be a fun season.
- Zac Dalpe played? If you say so. 5:28 for the new Blue Jacket in his third game. Gabriel Carlsson played 9:43, a full 10 minutes fewer than anybody else on the CBJ defense.
- Minnesota tomorrow, 8 p.m. Eastern. Join us, won’t you?