If you’re a fan of the new high-scoring NHL, you’re not going to like this recap. For everyone else, here are the key element’s of tonight’s well-earned by the Blue Jackets over the visiting Golden Knights:
Let’s start with the only goal in the entire game.
This was vintage Nick Foligno, camping in front of the net and grinding his way to a rebound goal. Great effort on his part.
Tonight marked the 800th career game for the Captain, and his 30th career game winner (20th with Columbus). He has 18 points (8 g, 10 a) through 32 games after putting up just 15/18/33 in 72 games last season.
Bob was Bob tonight, recording his long-awaited first shutout of the season. Vegas got some good lucks, but Bob made it look easy the way he turned them away. Even as Vegas piled on a flurry of shots throughout the third period, it seemed like his confidence grew, and the rest of the team played with more confidence as well knowing that Brick Wall Bob was back there.
Did Bob rise to the pressure knowing that the team was missing a key offensive producer?
THE OTHER GOALIE
This was Bob’s night, but stick taps to the netminder 200 feet away. Malcolm Subban - playing for the first time in 12 games in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury - recorded 30 saves of his own. The Jackets were controlling play for much of the second period, but couldn’t break through.
Artemi Panarin was a surprise late scratch, as the team announced he was day-to-day with a lower body injury. Anthony Duclair returned to the lineup and took Panarin’s place on the first line. I was curious to see whether Duclair could make the most of this opportunity. He most definitely did. He had 2 shot attempts but they were both high danger shots on goal. He also set up his linemates for shots, as that first line earned 15 shot attempts at even strength.
Part of what sparked the Jackets’ run in the late first and second period was a center swap in the middle 6. Boone Jenner moved down between Lukas Sedlak and Oliver BJORKSTRAND while Alexander Wennberg moved up between Foligno and Josh Anderson. That line also generated 15 shot attempts, and of course the lone goal of the game.
Jenner’s night went less well, with a CF% of 35.29 (6 shot attempts for, 11 against).
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Lars “Wild Bill” William Karlsson made his second return trip to Nationwide Arena, still centering the top line for the Golden Knights. He had a forgettable night, with just 1 shot on goal, 2 shot attempts, 1 goal allowed, and a lowly 25% on faceoffs. His countryman Wennberg, meanwhile, won 79%.
There was this interesting question posed by Aaron Portzline of The Athletic recently:
The Athletic did a (highly) unscientific and anonymous survey of NHL types — front office, coaches, scouts, national media, etc. — asking them the same question: “Not taking into consideration the rosters or contracts, would you trade Josh Anderson for William Karlsson?”
Twenty-nine people were contacted, 23 responded. Fifteen said they would not trade Anderson for Karlsson, and eight said they would.
What do you think? There’s no question that I’d rather keep Anderson. His combination of size, speed, and shooting ability are rare in today’s NHL.
THE LINGERING FLAW
The Blue Jackets had two power plays and recorded just two shots on goal. The power play in the second period produced NO shot attempts whatsoever. They could not even sustain possession in the offensive zone in those two minutes. Even without Panarin, there is no excuse for it still being this ineffective. Is it all Brad Larsen’s fault? Maybe not, but does anyone think he is the one to fix it after all this time?
Speaking of Larsen, walterc pointed out in the game thread that since he and Brad Shaw switched responsibilities, the team defense (Shaw’s purview) is much strong this past week - just two goals allowed in regulation in the last three games, or two in 220 minutes if you leave out the fluky third period against Vancounver - while the offense (once again Larsen’s responsibility) has dried up - two goals or fewer in four of the last five games.
All but one of the writers here at The Cannon love the third jersey, and with tonight’s win the team goes to 4-1-0 when wearing that cannon sweater. The lone loss came in that 6-9 loss to Calgary.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lost tonight to Anaheim, which puts them three points behind Columbus in the Metro standings, with the Jackets trailing the Washington Capitals by four points. The Union Blue hosts the New Jersey Devils on Thursday as the Jackets look to finish the homestand over .500 (currently sitting at 2-2-1).