Last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers as they attempted to break their two game losing skid. On the heels of a defensive collapse against the Calgary Flames Tuesday night, Torts made no lineup changes meaning Anthony Duclair and the recently called up Gabriel Carlsson would be healthy scratched.
Also, the Blue Jackets were without one of their assistant coaches, Brad Shaw:
NEWS: #CBJ Asst. Coach Brad Shaw became ill last night in Philadelphia and has been hospitalized due to an abdominal issue. He is expected to miss tonight’s game, but will rejoin the team as soon as possible.— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 6, 2018
With Sergei Bobrovsky back in net, could the Blue Jackets get back to winning?
Here’s what happened.
As John Tortorella noted, no lineup changes were made. Sergei Bobrovsky, a career 4-3-0 with the Blue Jackets in Philadelphia got the start against Anthony Stolarz, 1-1-0 on the season. He was chosen in the second round (45th overall) with a pick Columbus sent to Philadelphia in exchange for Sergei Bobrovsky. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
On the second shift of the game, Travis Konecny beat Ryan Murray in a foot race and registered the game’s first shot, forcing Bobrovsky to freeze the puck. Off the ensuing face-off, a puck drifted through Bobrovsky’s blue paint but no Flyer was able to send it home. Philadelphia earned the first power play of the night as Pierre-Luc Dubois went to the box for slashing Wayne Simmonds at 2:18 of the first period. On a shorthanded chance, Cam Atkinson forced a save from Stolarz. That shot ended up being the best chance of the power play as the Jackets killed the Dubois penalty, allowing no shots on net.
Shortly after the power play, a clearance by Sean Couturier allowed Claude Giroux to register his tenth goal on a 3 on 1 chance. (At first period intermission, the TV analysts broke this play down and noted that, since Seth Jones pinched in, Markus Hannikainen should have stepped back to help Werenski out, but he did not, and the puck was cleared, and there was nothing Werenski could do on the play.)
Philadelphia goal 1-0: Giroux from Konecny and Couturier, 5:58
Immediately after, on a rush up the ice, Seth Jones threw the puck on net as he led a rush up ice and it somehow beat Stolarz and went in. Fortunate, but Columbus tied the game. Five game point streak for Jones.
Columbus goal 1-1: Jones from Bjorkstrand and Dubinsky, 7:06
Immediately after the goal, there was a scramble to the side of the Columbus net but Bobrovsky was able to freeze the puck. Philadelphia was making Columbus work in their defensive zone, cycling the puck around and getting Bobrovsky out of position.
At the 9:51 mark, Jori Lehtera threw an elbow into Oliver Bjorkstrand’s face and was penalized with illegal contact to the head. It appeared that he intentionally threw an elbow at Bjorkstrand’s face, but no major penalty was called. Panarin let fly with a one time shot with 37 seconds remaining but Stolarz was equal to the chance. Philadelphia was able to kill the penalty, allowing one shot to Columbus.
Fashion update: Torts is wearing a hoodie on the bench at the second TV timeout.
On a semi-breakaway, Anderson’s effort was saved by Stolarz. Since his early gaffe, Stolarz seemed to settle down. At the 14:25 mark, Columbus went back to the power play as Foligno was, well, tackled by Radko Gudas. Gudas dove right into Foligno’s knee, but because there’s no 15 yard penalty in the NHL, it was just a two minute man advantage.
Torts shuffled the power play unit, icing Anderson, Jenner, Panarin, Bjorkstrand, and Werenski. As the second (?) unit of Jones, Atkinson, Wennberg, Foligno, and Dubois came onto the ice, Columbus failed to truly set up offensive zone time and Philadelphia killed the penalty without allowing a shot on goal.
Despite Columbus not allowing a Philadelphia shot on goal for nine minutes and counting as the teams crossed two minutes to go in the period, they could not find a way until Andrew MacDonald lost his stick. As that happened, Scott Harrington let a shot fly and Brandon Dubinsky tipped the puck into the net for his third of the season.
Columbus goal 2-1: Dubinsky from Harrington and Panarin, 18:08
Just as Columbus answered quickly earlier, so did Philadelphia. Pierre-Luc Dubois put the puck back into the defensive zone and Philadelphia took advantage as Sean Couturier let a shot go from below the goal line and it beat Sergei Bobrovsky. Columbus challenged the goal for offsides, and it was overturned as it was determined Dubois did not touch the puck. The play was called offside, and Columbus maintained their lead. Philadelphia pressured the Columbus net to end the period, but Sergei Bobrovsky was equal to the chances.
As the first period ended, Columbus led 2-1 on the scoreboard and 12-5 on the shot counter.
Seth Jones played 9:10 in the first period.
As the team opened the second period, Torts kept the (I must say, very nice) Blue Jackets hoodie on. Kinda want it, not going to lie.
step, step, sashay pic.twitter.com/7kR42OJnA1— Columbus Blue Hoodies (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 7, 2018
Ryan Murray was able to break up a half-breakaway by Scott Laughton just seconds into the period as Laughton got behind the defense. Philadelphia pressured Columbus hard to open the second period, forcing the Jackets to scramble in their defensive zone but Columbus was able to keep Philadelphia off the score sheet.
At the 4:12 mark of the second, Josh Anderson with speed through the neutral zone forced the Flyers to take a penalty, giving the Jackets another power play on the night as Scott Laughton went off for hooking. A scramble in front of the Flyers’ net and several blocked shots eventually saw a Seth Jones shot deflected off Stolarz and out of play. The Flyers were able to kill the penalty, despite several Jackets chances. Artemi Panarin, on a one on one chance, made a great steal as Sandheim tried to walk around him.
At the 8:30 mark, the Flyers took another penalty after a neutral zone turnover led to Radko Gudas taking a slashing penalty. Claude Giroux had a half-chance but it was broken up by Foligno and Jones. The Blue Jackets yet again were not able to generate a good chance until the dying seconds and the Flyers killed it, allowing just the one shot (killing all four tonight). After the power play, Jenner and Panarin saw shots blocked.
With 12:00 gone, Scott Laughton went back to the box for roughing just after Riley Nash missed a golden chance in front of Stolarz. The Flyers possessed the puck for the first 30 seconds of the power play, wasting a lot of time. Columbus never had solid zone possession for the first unit as Panarin smashed his stick on the ice as he skated off the ice. The best chance was a Cam Atkinson shot that Stolarz denied as Philadelphia killed the fifth penalty of the night, allowing two shots (five total on the night).
With 4:30 to go, a golden opportunity by Claude Giroux went wanting as he fired it high and wide. Seth Jones went off for tripping as he attempted to avoid contact with 16:09 gone. Columbus killed the penalty, allowing just one shot on the kill as the crowd in Philadelphia booed the home team. As in the first period, Philadelphia dominated the final 90 seconds and earned another power play as Nick Foligno went off for tripping with 31.9 seconds remaining. Columbus was able to get the game to the second intermission with a 2-1 lead. Columbus led on the shot counter 25-10.
The Jackets opened the third with just under 90 seconds left to kill against the Flyers, and with 30 seconds to go, Philadelphia nearly equalized. Sean Couturier was open on the back post but the puck fell under Sergei Bobrovsky who fell on it and kept the puck out of the net.
Despite four shots for the Flyers, the Jackets were able to kill the penalty. Torts began to shuffle the lines early in the third. Two golden chances followed for the Flyers, from Giroux and Konecny. Torts moved Artemi Panarin onto a line with Anderson and Jenner and it led to a goal as Jenner found a puck that rolled off of Panarin’s stick and bounced to Jenner who went top shelf and beat Stolarz.
Columbus goal 3-1: Jenner from Panarin, 5:15
Panarin was able to pick up his second assist of the night on the Jenner goal. Torts jumbled everything. Werenski was playing with Nutivaara, Wennberg on Dubois’ wing, and a whole host of other changes; only the fourth line remained unchanged. But the Jackets were able to maintain offensive zone pressure.
As the game settled down with some end to end action where neither team was able to generate a true sorting chances the thir period crossed the halfway Travis Sanheim was able to score on a rush after a cross-zone feed from Claude Giroux after a long pass through the neutral zone broke the defensive pressure and made it a one goal game.
Philadelphia goal 2-3: Sanheim from Giroux and Konecny, 12:24
Sanheim strikes off the rush! pic.twitter.com/Wjsm5UCSOy— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 7, 2018
The Philadelphia goal gave the Flyers a 12-4 shot advantage in the third over the Jackets. As the Jackets began to play prevent defense, the Flyers took advantage and were able to tie the game as Sanheim was left unmarked on the far post and Voracek found him for his second of the night.
Philadelphia goal 3-3: Sanheim from Voracek and Gostisbehere, 14:29
The prevent defense in the third period meant once again the Jackets went away from what gave them the lead in the first place, taking their foot off the gas and letting the Flyers back in the game. Exactly what happened Tuesday night against Calgary.
Finally, after giving up two unanswered goals, Columbus went back to offensive zone pressure - Philadelphia had no answer for it all night, and yet the third period was an exercise in Columbus refusing to put their foot on the Flyers’ throat and take the game.
Wayne Simmonds was able to force a big save from Bobrovsky with Nolan Patrick waiting on the back post with 90 seconds to go. Despite a two goal lead with minutes to go, the Jackets were forced to go to overtime.
Seconds into overtime, Cam Atkinson won a board battle and fed Seth Jones who was able to win it for Columbus.
Columbus Blue Jackets 4 Philadelphia Flyers 3 (OT)
Third: Artemi Panarin
Second: Travis Sanheim
First: Seth Jones
Columbus did not deserve that win, but two points are two points. Artemi Panarin and Zach Werenski did not play after Philadelphia scored to tie the game late in the third, and getting a win does not excuse or validate that coaching performance down the stretch - the team played not to lose, be it by coaching or team attitude, but something must change.
Scott Harrington played well tonight. I’ve been one of his biggest critics this season, so I should eat crow when appropriate.
Sergei Bobrovsky played well, bouncing back after a shaky performance against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
Notable ice time totals tonight:
Seth Jones: 27:23
Pierre-Luc Dubois: 16:46
Zach Werenski: 16:33
Artemi Panarin: 17:39
Cam Atkinson kept his point streak alive, moving his total to 12 games and one short of the franchise record set by Ryan Johansen.
Columbus takes on the Washington Capitals for the first times since last season’s playoffs Saturday night in Nationwide Arena. Face-off is set for 7:00 PM EST.