On the heels of a big 3-1 home victory over the New York Rangers on Friday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets traveled to Saint Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild on the second night of a back to back. The Minnesota Wild were icing a thin lineup due to injuries throughout the roster - the Wild missed key contributors like Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, and Marcus Foligno. For the Blue Jackets, only Boone Jenner and Gabriel Carlsson were unavailable due to injury.
After his big win on Friday night, Sergei Bobrovsky would again get the call in net opposite Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
The first period started slowly. The Blue Jackets skaters struggled to get into the flow of the game. The Wild, meanwhile, looked like a team determined to take advantage of the travel-weary Jackets. After several chances throughout the period, the Wild were finally able to capitalize. Eric Staal was able to beat Bobrovsky at the 15:50 mark to give the Wild the first goal.
Minnesota goal: Eric Staal from Christ Stewart and Matt Dumba, 15:50, 1-0
Almost immediately, the Blue Jackets were able to respond. Alexander Wennberg found Zach Werenski with a cross-crease pass that he was able to bury into a gaping net. Tie game.
Columbus goal: Zach Werenski from Alexander Wennberg and Artemi Panarin, 16:25, 1-1
As the second period started, Torts began to juggle the lines, searching for any type of spark to help get his team going. Torts began juggling defensive pairs as well, searching for ways to hide the mistakes his blue liners were making. It bears mentioning that Scott Harrington had a night to forget, only registering 11 minutes of ice time after taking over for an injured Gabriel Carlsson.
At the 2:58 mark of the second period, Minnesota was able to take advantage of a David Savard turnover and retake the lead.
Minnesota goal: Tyler Ennis from Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter, 2:58, 2-1
Shortly after, Sergei Bobrovsky appeared to stop the puck, but it trickled out of his pads shortly after. A scramble behind the netminder saw the puck jammed into the net for a 3-1 lead for the hometown Wild.
Minnesota goal: Landon Ferraro from Zack Mitchell, 5:07, 3-1
David Savard was able to make up for his earlier mistake in a big way, drawing the Blue Jackets back into the game. After an Oliver Bjorkstrand shot was stopped, Savard absolutely hammered the rebound past a helpless Devan Dubnyk.
Columbus goal: David Savard from Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nick Foligno, 7:42, 3-2
The Jackets continued to see their on ice partners juggled over the course of the game, but were able to escape into the third period trailing by just one goal.
The third period, however, would not start well for the Blue Jackets. Mikko Koivu found Tyler Ennis with a pass, but the puck went past Bobovsky off of Ennis’ skate. After a replay for a kicking motion, the goal stood.
Minnesota goal: Tyler Ennis from Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter, 1:42, 4-2
It took 57 seconds for the Blue Jackets to respond. A Jack Johnson howler from the point left a juicy rebound that Cam Atkinson was able to slot into the net to again make it a one goal deficit.
Columbus goal: Cam Atkinson from Jack Johnson and Artemi Panarin, 2:39, 4-3
It appeared that would be it for Columbus until the defense was again able to make a play. David Savard, on a set play off a faceoff, threw the puck at the net. Josh Anderson was able to redirect the puck just under the crossbar for a goal. After a review to determine if it was played with a high stick, the goal counted.
Columbus goal: Josh Anderson from David Savard and Matt Calvert, 16:23, 4-4
The score remained tied as the teams went to overtime. In the extra period, Artemi Panarin danced through the entire Wild team and threw a shot at Dubnyk, who denied it. The puck ricocheted right to Alexander Wennberg on the doorstep, who somehow managed to get it into the net. After another video review, it was determined that Wennberg’s chest hit the puck, then he was able to direct it into the net with the shaft of the stick. As a result, the goal stood, and Columbus won the game in overtime.
Columbus goal: Alexander Wennberg from Artemi Panarin and Seth Jones, 0:41, 5-4
FINAL: Columbus Blue Jackets 5 Minnesota Wild 4
First thought: Artemi Panarin is really good
I know this goes without saying, but he has been far better than I could have ever imagined. Panarin has notched 1-6-7 in 5 games in Columbus and is good for one jaw dropping play per night. He is truly a game breaking offensive player, and I am so happy he is here.
Second thought: Will the power play ever show up?
One power play goal in five games (from Zach Werenski on opening night) is not going to cut it. Just shoot the puck sometimes, guys.
Third thought: They can play better
This team is 4-1 and has not played remotely close to their best hockey yet. When they finally settle down, develop chemistry, and get some players out of the lineup who have looked overmatched in favor of guys returning from injury, this team will look like a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.