Saturday night featured two of the top teams in the NHL squaring off in Columbus between the Jackets and Los Angeles Kings. With it, two of the best goalies, so naturally, this game would be all offense from the outset, right?
For the strategy of the Blue Jackets, the message was simple, Shoot the puck! Columbus had the opportunity early to try to do just that, and they heeded the mindset of coach John Tortorella.
Earning the first powerplay of the night, the 0-for-18 drought with the man-advantage was finally ended when Nick Foligno, who was fed the slide pass from Artemi Panarin, got in on Jonathan Quick's doorstep and fired the puck past him for the first goal.
It was also Columbus' first shot on goal of the game.
While the Jackets only had one PPG entering Saturday's contest, L.A., the best in the league on the penalty kill, had only allowed one PPG all season.
This goal scoring thing was quite the theme of the night, especially early.
Goals For All
Anze Kopitar evened the score almost immediately, and not long after that, Trevor Lewis gave the Kings the 2-1 lead on a backhand pass from Michael Cammalleri. Not even half a minute later, Oliver Bjorkstrand evened the score at two.
Because that's what happens when you have two of the best goalies in Jonathan Quick and Sergei Bobrovsky—Four goals in the first eight minutes of the game.
Just after the second Jackets' power play, which they could not convert, a body scramble ensued in the paint of Quick, and Matt Calvert was able to push it through for the fifth goal of the period, and the Jackets second lead, 3-2.
Bjorkstrand and Murray both tallied their first goals of the campaign.
Late in the opening frame, Bobrovsky made a key save when Adrian Kempe got all alone on the breakaway and Bob sprawled forward for the stop.
The Return of Boone
Boone Jenner made his season debut, and made an impact right away, jumping into the flow of things and getting into contact early. Fall down, get up, draw a penalty, classic Boone and that sense of physicality and energy back in the lineup.
Of course, it would not take long for Los Angeles to even the score once again. Forty seconds into the second period Jake Muzzin picked up his second goal of the season, and his second point of the night.
Coming off the faceoff to the left of Bob, Muzzin was able to get free space and get his shot off.
Later in the period, a shot from the blue line tipped Drew Doughty's stick and past Bobrovsky for the Kings' fourth goal. Doughty did a nice job of dishing out to the left wing Dustin Brown who slapped it from the blue line and tipped the rushing Doughty for the goal.
With nearly five minutes to go in the second, Sonny Milano picked up his team-leading fifth goal for Columbus.
The sequence started as Lukas Sedlak kept the play going out of the defensive zone. Milano was able to recoup in the other end, drive to the net, and deliver. The box score reads as an unassisted marker for Milano, but the work by Sedlak to push it through the neutral zone, and keep it alive in the offensive zone is the kind of grit that makes Torts smile and what you value.
Panarin also had a nice move defensively, getting a stick on a puck and out of the paint after it got behind an initial Bobrovsky save in that second period. Overall entering the third period, the Jackets had three rebound shots and two goals on the second chance.
Columbus had a couple opportunities to get the go-ahead tally including one off the foot of the goal post in the third period. As Quick came down his head actually helped knock it lose and out. Even though a track meet is not exactly in the blueprint, the end-to-end action was there in the third.
Zach Werenski had a nice poke check on a breakaway for the Kings late in the period as the Jackets got caught in a line change at center ice. L.A. kept the puck in and Kopitar earned his second goal of the night and third point on the tip-in goal.
Dustin Brown scored the empty-netter to seal it and give the Kings a 6-4 win. Brown had himself a four-point night.
Jeff Carter missed the game after sustaining an injury to his leg against Montreal last game. He had surgery and is out indefinitely. With the game as close as it was on the scoreboard, that was a break for Columbus to miss him this go around.
Getting the greasy rebounds and rushing the paint obviously worked well for Columbus on this night. The response was there as well. Even though L.A. knotted the score and took the lead only minutes after the Jackets first goal, Columbus showed off their scoring touch. And doing so against one of the best defensive teams in the NHL should help the confidence.
Continue to drive the net and shoot the puck, Columbus. It can do wonders. Simple right?
Unfortunately, the Jackets were not able to bail out Bobrovsky on this night. It was a tight game on the shot clock, 36-32 Columbus.
The Union Blue battle the Buffalo Sabres at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday.
- Foligno had his first multi-point game since Feb. 25 of last season against the Islanders.
- Tyler Toffoli played in his 300th career NHL game.
- Dubinsky was 6-for-6 in the faceoff circle for the first period, and the Jackets won 16 of 25 in the frame. Columbus only won 29 for the whole night.
- Read into this what you will but through the first 40 minutes, Columbus outhit Los Angeles 21-4. They outhit them 25-10 for the game.
- Jenner had six shots in 18:11 of ice-time.
- Jake Muzzin is on a six-game point streak.
- Kopitar is now 16-17-33 in 34 games vs Columbus.
- First four goals of the game in 2:17.
- The Los Angeles Kings are off to their best start in franchise history (6-0-1).