On the night before Thanksgiving, both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers looked like they’d already dug into the turkey as the CBJ allowed five power plays and Philadelphia scored on the one they needed to win, 3-2.
Columbus played shorthanded for nearly half of a period on Wednesday. Philadelphia received the game’s first four power plays—three coming in the opening period—and Claude Giroux finally made Columbus pay in the third with the game-winner.
Nick Foligno and Seth Jones scored for the Blue Jackets. Foligno’s goal marked the ninth straight time Columbus has scored first, but the team only has five wins to show for it.
Tyler PItlick, Scott Laughton and Giroux scored for Philadelphia. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 19-of-22 shots (a low number, especially given the power play time) and Brian Elliott made 28 saves on 30 shots, including some excruciating ones in the third.
Wednesday’s game was...meh. If you took the power plays away, there was virtually nothing remarkable about it. The play lacked the chippiness of a contest between two division clubs battling for wild card position, and it wasn’t until the third that the Blue Jackets tilted the ice their way. Of Columbus’s 10 high danger scoring chances, six came in the final period, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
The kids had a rough night. According to the shift chart, Alexandre Texier didn’t play for the final half of the game, Eric Robinson saw one shift in the third and Sonny Milano saw only two more shifts than that.
Just not enough. After playing with a hot puck a week ago, the CBJ’s scoring troubles creeped back Wednesday night. Sure, they were a few inches away late in the third. That’s hockey, though. At least Foligno and Jones found the back of the net. Josh Anderson’s drought continues, as does many others’.
Back again Friday night against Pittsburgh.
One bright spot early: Emil Bemstrom, who looked locked in. The rookie created two great one-timer looks on one particular shift, hitting Robert Hagg’s leg on the first and narrowly missing the net.
He would get on the scoresheet later by setting up a Nick Foligno score. Using a faceoff win following a Flyers icing, Bemstrom threw the puck on net and Foligno cashed in on the rebound. Not even five minutes in and the Blue Jackets had a 1-0 lead.
1-0 Blue Jackets, Foligno (2) from Bemstrom (6) and Milano (6) at 4:51
Josh Anderson took the game’s first penalty 21 seconds later for slashing Oskar Lindblom. The CBJ’s aggressive kill held the Flyers at bay and Korpisalo stoned Kevin Hayes from the slot in the final seconds (the PP’s only shot) to preserve the home side’s lead.
Columbus almost shot themselves when miscommunication between Dean Kukan and Korpisalo nearly led to one of them kicking the puck in their own net. No harm, no foul, though.
Seth Jones gave the Flyers another crack at the power play with 7:13 left in the period on a high stick. Korpisalo stopped Philadelphia’s only shot again...but the CBJ went back to the box less than 30 seconds after Jones left it, this time for an Oliver Bjorkstrand hooking call. No shots for Philadelphia on their third PP as the Blue Jackets smothered the Flyers every time they entered the zone.
Stuck with a useless power play, the Flyers tied the game with 1:22 left at 5v5 thanks to some help from their fourth line. Deep in the CBJ zone, Tyler Pitlick followed his own shot and backhanded the rebound past Korpisalo to for a late-period equalizer.
1-1, Pitlick (2) from van Riemsdyk (6) and Raffl (5) at 18:38
The tie lasted just 46 seconds. Kevin Hayes turned the puck over in the neutral zone and a nifty self-pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand set up Gustav Nyquist behind the net with time to plan. Seth Jones skated in unmarked and slapped one home past Brian Elliott to give the Jackets back the lead with 35.5 seconds before intermission.
2-1 Blue Jackets, Jones (3) from Nyquist (11) and Bjorkstrand (8) at 19:24
The second began similarly to the first, in that Alexander Wennberg played the opening faceoff with his hand for Philly’s fourth straight power play. Two seconds into the period.
The Flyers managed two shots—Columbus had shorthanded chances from Josh Anderson and Cam Atkinson—as the CBJ killed their fourth straight penalty. Foligno showed some quick thinking by sticking his leg out to break up a trailing pass that would’ve been a golden chance for the Flyers.
Also similarly to the first, Philadelphia scored after the penalty’s expiration. Joel Farabee threw a pass all the way from the corner and across the crease to a streaking Scott Laughton for a tap-in. Tie game.
2-2, Laughton (1) from Farabee (5) and Hayes (5) at 3:19
The Blue Jackets finally—finally!—went on the power play near the midway point of the game. Tyler Pitlick knocked down a puckless Eric Robinson at center ice and well, that’s illegal. Columbus stumbled through a fruitless power play where they struggled to set up, finally getting it together near the end but only managing one shot over the advantage.
The theme of the night cropped up again with a little less than five minutes to go. Sonny Milano interfered with Morgan Frost in the neutral zone for Philadelphia’s fifth power play with 4:45 left in the second. Of course, if you’re gonna play with fire, you’re gonna get burned. With Columbus unable to get the puck out of the zone, Claude Giroux held his shot from the dot until Korpisalo couldn’t see around Jones, then he let loose. Philadelphia’s first lead of the game. Of course it would be Milano’s penalty.
3-2 Flyers, Giroux (8) PP, from Provorov (10) and Konecny (16), 16:35
Not much more to say for the rest of the period as the Flyers held onto their lead for intermission. Mood through two:
Umm … this game? This isn’t even low-key chippy. It’s a big nothing, both ways. https://t.co/miwYZ39u11— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) November 28, 2019
Tortorella switched the lines around to start the third, including moving Dubois between Foligno and Anderson.
The Blue Jackets enjoyed an extremely long shift in the Philadelphia zone six minutes into the period, but couldn’t crack Brian Elliott. The Nationwide Arena crowd did break out The Wave at the 10-minute mark, though.
One of the Blue Jackets’ best chances—an Atkinson near-breakaway from a long Pierre-Luc Dubois stretch pass—went by the wayside as Ivan Provorov knocked the puck away right before Atkinson got to Elliott.
Columbus came inches from tying the game in the third. Josh Anderson turned Elliott around in vain and Sonny Milano hit Elliott’s skate blade as the puck stayed out.
Some frantic times with the goalie pulled after that, but no goal. So ends Columbus’s 14-year home winning streak against Philadelphia. Time to start a new one on February 20.
Have a great Thanksgiving!