Did you stay up to watch this one? If not, here’s what you missed:
This was a much slower paced game to start than we saw in Vegas. Both teams were a bit tentative, but Arizona created more chances. The Coyotes also kept the Blue Jackets from getting clean zone exits and zone entries.
The Jackets forwards were simply out of sync. Whenever someone like Foligno or Atkinson made a good play to get possession in the offensive zone, no teammate was in position to receive their pass.
Despite all that, the period ended in a 0-0 tie, thanks to some great effort by Bob. Not much doing on offense, with David Savard leading the team in shot attempts, at 4.
The close up shots came late in the period, but it was Arizona getting the shots in the crease.
Much better start to this period for the Jackets. Passing was cleaner and they created more shot attempts. Then the ice tilted back in Arizona’s favor and they regained the shot lead.
The period ended with Artemi Panarin delivering a hard hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, which OEL had a problem with. They scuffled and Bread got the takedown. Both players got two minutes for roughing.
By this point, Pierre-Luc Dubois led the team in iCF, with Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson, and David Savard with 4 each.
The period started with 4 on 4 play, but Josh Anderson drew a tripping penalty just 17 seconds in courtesy of Niklas Hjalmarsson, which gave the Blue Jackets a 4 on 3 power play. Panarin’s penalty expired and the Jackets were able to draw first blood.
Panarin took the puck to the left circle, then passed across the Royal Road to Zach Werenski. Z passed back to Seth Jones at the top of the slot, who unleashed a big shot at the goal. He was originally credited with the goal, but later it was corrected to give Alexander Wennberg the goal, as the puck deflected off his stick in front of the goal.
Six minutes later, Josh Anderson took a sloppy interference penalty. The Coyotes sent a lot of pucks at Bob and eventually Brendan Perlini knocked one in. It appears that jostling by Jacket players Jussi Jokinen and Savard caused the chain reaction of collisions, but Torts thought it was worth it to challenge the call, because “the only consistent thing about [goaltender interference] is that it’s inconsistent.” Alas, the call on the ice stood. Tie game.
The period moved on, and we all dreaded another overtime game, or even worse a blown lead. But fortunately the best line of the night - Wennberg, Atkinson, Foligno - came through.
Atkinson - playing his first game in four weeks after getting screws put in his feet - laid a big hit on Hjalmarsson. Foligno fought for the loose puck and knocked it to Wennberg. From the left faceoff dot, Wennberg spotted Atkinson who had skated immediately to the crease after his hit. From one knee at the back post, Atkinson knocked in what would be the game winner.
The Jackets withstood a final push by Arizona and Bob continued making great saves. A couple of empty net opportunities from Captain Foligno missed, so the game ended with a score of 2-1.
- 33 saves for Sergei Bobrovsky. He was huge tonight. Torts gave him credit for saves after turnovers by his teammates. The only goal he allowed was one he didn’t have a chance to save.
- Nick Foligno now has 7 points in his last 7 games. He played well with Wennberg and Atkinson tonight, so I’d like to see that line stay together for now.
- 7 shot attempts for Cam in 19 minutes of ice time. What a comeback!
- The final heat map looks better, but still not enough action right around the crease. That needs to be a focus after the break.
- The team gets a break, while Seth Jones flies to Tampa Bay for the All Star Game. He played like an All Star defenseman tonight.
- With losses by New Jersey and Philadelphia and a Columbus win, the Blue Jackets are back in second place in the Metro Division going into the break:
No one said it would be easy.