These days, the Red Wings bring up the rear in the Eastern Conference and the Blue Jackets, entering the night three points clear of the once mighty Wings, looked to fend off Detroit for their third straight win.
A three goal third period, and two more tallies on the power play did the trick Thursday night. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 22 shots and Eric Robinson scored his second goal in as many nights as the Blue Jackets defeated the Red Wings 5-4.
The first period started out with lots of action and very few whistles. It was basically a track meet early and often.
Scoring in this game got started by the Blue Jackets first, as they cracked the scoreboard with strong puck movement in the offensive zone. Alexandre Texier was the happy recipient with his third goal of the season, as Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones, who would also have eventful offensive nights, picked up assists.
Columbus saw a majority of chances in the first period, but some opportunities on the Wings’ side of things included a couple funny bounces and ricochets. Some that Korpisalo was there to snare, and then one juicy rebound chance was ultimately intercepted by Josh Anderson to keep the game scoreless at that point in the game.
At the 12:06 mark, Detroit would tie this game at one on a slap shot by Tyler Bertuzzi, beating Korpisalo through a bit of traffic as Seth Jones and Dylan Larkin positioned in front. Madison Bowey and Anthony Mantha picked up assists.
There was a 2-on-1 late in the period and Boone Jenner nearly dished a rebound off Jimmy Howard, the initial shot coming from Oliver Bjorkstrand, but the puck hit side of net. Both teams went to intermission tied at one.
The second period started with the remaining few seconds of a first power play spilling over from the first, and though the Jackets did not score on that chance, they did on the second one not long after.
Cam Atkinson scored his fourth goal of the season, team-leading third power play goal, and the tally was his first since Oct. 24 — a span of 11 games. Zach Werenski picked up an assist to prolong a five-game point streak, while Jones picked up his second assist of the night.
As you see above, it was a nice pass by Werenski through the seam to find a waiting Atkinson for the goal.
And then there was this save by Korpisalo on the break with a hair flip on the back end.
Helping break up that attempt, Jones picked up a penalty, but you’ll take that and look to kill the subsequent penalty which the Jackets did. Detroit drew another penalty so it was up to Columbus to kill the 5-on-3 penalty, which they did.
Detroit couldn't even muster a shot.
But sometimes hockey is a game of inches and the Wings capitalized on a quirky little bounce of luck their way. The goal, coming off Jones’ skate, was credited to Filip Hronek, assisted by Robby Frabbi and Andreas Athanasiou.
Only 44 seconds later, Detroit took their first lead of the game on a Blue Jackets power play. It’s now the fifth goal allowed while on the power play by the Blue Jackets this season, the most in the league. They came into the night with 10 power play goals.
In what we’ve seen all too often, it was a break the other way led by Luke Glendening and he was off to the races. Frans Nielsen with the assist.
What’s been familiar territory all season, the Blue Jackets took to the third period in a one goal deficit and needing to find the equalizer fast.
For the second straight game, the offense took off in the third period.
On the fifth power play chance of the night, the Jackets converted for their second power play goal when Oliver Bjorkstrand sniped one past Howard from the slot. Pierre-Luc Dubois cracked the scoresheet as did Gustav Nyquist, who earned a point against his former team.
Columbus took the lead again soon after — 1:03 later — when Boone Jenner poked one in from the corner. The play was assisted by Bjorkstrand and Vladislov Gavrikov.
Always looking for insurance, the Blue Jackets beautifully orchestrated a home run play. Eric Robinson, putting on the jets, scoring his third goal of the season, and second in as many games.
The sequence: Alexander Wennberg wins faceoff, Werenski scoops the puck behind Korpisalo’s cage and whips it around the boards to Robinson at mid-ice who does the rest.
With over three minutes left, Detroit cut the deficit to one on Tyler Bertuzzi’s second goal of the game. Athanasiou grabbed his second assist and Dennis Cholowski also assisted.
The home team would hang on for their third straight victory, and nine in 10 against the Red Wings. Columbus hits the road next to face the Winnipeg Jets, who are currently playing the Dallas Stars in Dallas tonight.
Stars defeat Jets 5-3.
Nick Foligno returned to the lineup following a three-game suspension while Riley Nash was the odd man out. Former Red Wings assistant, and newly hired power play coach, Paul MacLean was behind the bench in his first game with the Blue Jackets. And maybe the effect has already begun as the Jackets go 2-for-5 on the power play. They now have four power play goals in their last three games. For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets score three third period goals. David Savard led the Blue Jackets in ice time (22:03). Cam Atkinson led the team, and co-led the game, with four shots. Filip Hronek led the game with ice time (27:18).