There’s nothing quite like the excitement of the home opener: The glitz, the glam, the smell of the ice, the sound of the pre-game shoot around and walking through the Nationwide Arena doors and seeing the hustle and bustle. It’s magical.
And then, the puck drops and on some nights, the magic continues. Others, not so much.
Friday night was a bit of both. (I can only assume - I wasn’t actually there.)
Before the puck even dropped, there was a bit of a let down in the excitement and anticipation of the night as the start of the game was delayed for about 15 minutes due to faulty lighting and worries over play visibility.
Once the puck did drop, both teams showed some speed but neither made much happen, which would turn out being the through line of the game, really.
Carolina scored the first goal of the game just 1:43 in on a neutral zone turnover by Artemi Panarin (albeit it, on a nice defensive play from Andrei Svechnikov to poke it away), leading to a Jordan Martinook wrist shot from the slot, beating Sergei Bobrovsky and giving the Canes a 1-0 lead.
From that point in the period, the Jackets began to get the game underneath them a bit better and finished the period strong.
Columbus tied the game on Brandon Dubinsky’s first goal of the year, putting home a shot David Savard didn’t get a full stick on through the five-hole of former Blue Jacket Curtis McElhinney.
That...was really the high point of the evening for the Blue Jackets, who had clumps of chances against Mac to try and find the back of the net, but were never able to do so.
The lone goal of the second period was via Sebastian Aho, this one off a faceoff as well, as Aho found himself all alone in the slot and was able to shove a backhand past Bobrovsky.
Despite outshooting Carolina 11-8 in the second period, the Jackets never felt like they had control of the game.
Aho added another point to his night, finding Michael Ferland who was trailing the play and was left alone in the slot to beat Bobrovsky glove side (all three goals were pushed past Bob on that side).
Columbus was outshot 35-32 and went 0-for-3 on the power play, having fans in an uproar that things are the same from last year. The Blue Jackets did have the edge in the faceoff circle.
Ryan Murray posted the best CF% at 5-on-5, at 59.38, followed by Josh Anderson (55.17), Boone Jenner (53.85) and Markus Nutivaara (50), who had kind of a quiet game.
A lot of the discussion around this game is that of the play of Bob who, while wasn’t great all game, had an alright game. He allowed maybe a goal he shouldn’t have but made a few great saves and I think it’s fair to say was rattled for a bit after allowing the first goal of the game on the first shot.
But, he wasn’t as bad as you’re going to hear people say he is.
Anyway, we’re two games in and this was one of those games where chances were had and CBJ just couldn’t capitalize. They weren’t necessarily the best team on the ice, but if a couple of bounces chance the Jackets at least salvage a point.
Columbus is off until Tuesday, when they host Colorado before heading to the Sunshine State for a two-game swing.