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Game #7 Recap: Blue Jackets Can’t Muster Enough Against Blackhawks, Lose 4-1

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Crawford stands tall to steal one in Nationwide

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, in hockey, you run into a good goalie. You control possession and create shots and draw penalties and you lose anyway because you scored one measly goal. That’s what happened to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night in their home tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks as the CBJ fell, 4-1.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (who, as MrSwift13 pointed out the other day in Slack, has virtually identical numbers to Sergei Bobrovsky over the course of their careers) stood on his head to make 37 saves (24 even strength) for the win. Crawford withstood a second-period onslaught from Columbus to keep the game tied at 1-1 before the Blackhawks turned the tide in the third.

Zach Werenski scored Columbus’s only goal, a beautiful wrister in the first period. The CBJ move to 4-3-0 on the year and host Arizona on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

First Period

A strong CBJ start fizzled as Chicago struck first just 3:48 into the first period. A Cam Atkinson shot missed wide and allowed the Blackhawks to scoop up the puck and head the other way. The rush led to Dominik Kahun finding a trailing Alex DeBrincat, who squeezed a wrister through Bobrovsky for an early Chicago lead.

Blackhawks 1, Blue Jackets 0, 16:12 left in the first period

Bob bailed out the Jackets a few minutes later by sliding over to stop a shot from Patrick Kane:

The power play would make its first appearance at 11:11 on a Henri Jokiharju tripping call. Columbus gave the advantage right back 35 seconds into the PP, however, when Atkinson slashed Nick Schmaltz.

The CBJ had to make do with 4-on-4, and make do they did. Werenski scored his second of the season by finishing off a slick rush from Alexander Wennberg and Markus Nutivaara, jumping into the play and scoring to make it 1-1 with 7:51 left in the opening period.

Blue Jackets 1, Blackhawks 1, 7:51 left in the first period.

Dean Kukan drew a “tripping” penalty with 4:56 remaining to put Columbus back on the power play. After struggling to break through Chicago’s aggressive PK, the officials immediately waved off an apparent Boone Jenner goal midway through the advantage. Jenner jammed through a loose puck in the crease…but it was not to be.

Opportunities continued to come hot and heavy for the home side. Nick Foligno missed wide on a juicy chance seconds before Anthony Duclair failed to convert on a breakaway. The period ended with CBJ throwing its weight around and this great Werenski defensive play:

Second Period

The second began in similar fashion to the first. Corey Crawford made a top-notch save to deny Duclair on the doorstop in the period’s first minute. The Jackets then pressed and drew a Jokiharju penalty at 2:00 when the young d-man cross-checked Nick Foligno squarely in the numbers during a puck battle.

Despite pounding Crawford with shots, the Jackets never capitalized and Wennberg went to the box for hooking in the Chicago penalty’s waning seconds—one the Jackets killed without much incident.

Another CBJ PP went by without a goal, though chances continued to pile up during 5-on-5 play. Meanwhile, big Bob saves kept the score even on the other end of the ice:

Play went back and forth as Crawford stoned the Blue Jackets at every opportunity. The CBJ outshot Chicago 16-5 in the second period with nothing to show for it. Crawford was the only reason Columbus did not have a lead heading into intermission.

Third Period

The CBJ killed the remainder of a penalty to start the third, and actually produced more quality shots while shorthanded than Chicago did with an extra man. Yet again, Crawford was there:

Here’s the thing about creating shots and not scoring: eventually, the misses come back to bite you. Chicago hung on and finally scored a goal of its own with 12:17 left in regulation from Alexander Fortin. The forward threw an odd angle shot on net that deflected past Bobrovsky to give the visitors another lead, 2-1.

Blackhawks 2, Blue Jackets 1 with 12:17 left in the third period

Yikes. Cam Atkinson tried to skate through the entire Chicago team and turned the puck over at center ice...and the Blackhawks knew what to do with it. A tic-tac-toe play ended on Patrick Kane’s stick, and he usually doesn’t miss from that close. Brutal turnover from Cam.

Blackhawks 3, Blue Jackets 1 with 4:14 left in the third period

A Patrick Kane empty-netter put a bow on the win for Chicago. Game.

Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 1 with 1:37 left in the third period

Final Thoughts

  • 0-for-4 on the power play for Columbus. They killed all three of Chicago’s advantages, which is good, but a knocking one in early could’ve tipped the whole game.
  • Duclair stands out even when he doesn’t produce a shot. It seemed like he was everywhere early in the game, and Eddie Olcyzk made the remark (somewhat pointedly) that this looks like an entirely different Duclair than the one the Blackhawks had.
  • It’s not a perfect stat, but Artemi Panarin and Atkinson each finished -4 on the night.
  • MILANO WATCH: A team-low 10:32 of ice time.
  • Seth Jones, a fanbase turns its lonely eyes to you.
  • Bob made some key stops, but delivers another sub-.900 performance (.880 on Saturday).

What’d you think?