You would’ve been forgiven, as the Detroit Red Wings took a 3-2 lead early in the second period on only their sixth shot of the game, that you were watching another classic 2019-20 Columbus Blue Jackets performance: taking tons of shots, limiting chances...and losing again. But the CBJ continued to throw pucks on net like pepperonis on a Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready and eventually emerged with a 5-3 win on Tuesday night.
Kevin Stenlund scored the first goal of his career and Gustav Nyquist potted the empty netter in his first game back against his longtime former employer. CBJ stalwarts Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois also found the back of the net. Joonas Korpisalo made 18 saves on 21 shots.
Adam Erne scored twice for Detroit and Tyler Bertuzzi added a goal. Jonathan Bernier stopped 34 of 38 Columbus shots.
Erne scored the game’s first goal, marking the first time the CBJ have allowed the opening goal this season and won, snapping a 0-10-5 streak.
Zach Werenski played 23:46 in his first game back. Andrew Peeke left in the second period after blocking a shot in the first, while Alexander Wennberg took a puck to the mouth late in the game and went off for repairs. After the game, Columbus coach John Tortorella said it looked like Peeke broke his hand:
Torts hadn’t met with the training staff yet, but said it looks like Peeke has a broken hand. Going to be out for “a while.”#CBJ— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) December 18, 2019
Tuesday was one of those games where Columbus controlled the puck and pace yet still needed to squarely put their opponent away to win, never really getting any breathing room until Nyquist’s empty netter (though, and to be fair here, it is Detroit. I don’t mean that glibly—some of the defending and offensive acumen was not, like, Capitals-level). The CBJ held a heavy shot advantage throughout much of the game, posted eye-popping 5-on-5 CF% numbers in the first and second (78.26% and 76.19%, respectively) and generated 21 scoring chances to Detroit’s 13. A 71.45 xGF% isn’t anything to sneeze at, either.
The Blue Jackets have points in five straight games and head back home to host Los Angeles on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Detroit scored on its third shot of the game. Marko Dano and Stenlund couldn’t keep the puck in in the Red Wings’ end, and the home side recovered to head the other way. Peeke and Dano tried to cut off Brendan Perlini at the blue line, but Perlini found Frans Nielsen for a two-on-one with Adam Erne. Two quick passes resulted with Erne slapping a one-timer by Korpisalo for a 1-0 Detroit lead and one of the most unlikely scoring combos in the league.
1-0 Red Wings, Erne (1) from Nielsen (2) and Perlini (2) at 5:11
After a Gustav Nyquist tribute video, the Blue Jackets struck back. A delayed penalty allowed the CBJ to ice six skaters and cycle throughout the Detroit zone. Seth Jones retrieved the puck at center ice and made a quick pass to Pierre-Luc Dubois, who threw a shot on net for Atkinson to tip past Bernier and even the score.
1-1, Atkinson (9) from Dubois (11) and Jones (14) at 11:02
It took 64 seconds for the Blue Jackets to score again, and what a beauty. Bjorkstrand and Nyquist connected on a give-and-go with a sublime backhander to Bjorkstrand that put the CBJ ahead.
2-1 Blue Jackets, Bjorkstrand (10) from Nyquist (15) and Jenner (5) at 12:06
Columbus killed a thoroughly ineffective Detroit power play (Marko Dano off for interference), but Adam Erne would find the net again before the end of the period. Madison Bowey’s shot from the point hit Luke Glendening in front, bouncing to Erne with space to notch his—and the team’s—second of the night.
2-2, Erne (2) from Glendening (2) and Bowey (7) at 17:17
Per Jeff Svoboda, Erne’s goal marked Detroit’s first shot in over 12 minutes. Jackets held a 13-4 shot edge after the first period yet stood tied at intermission, 2-2.
Nick Foligno tripped Mike Green just 1:03 into the period, giving the Red Wings their second power play. Though they didn’t register a shot on their first, their second man advantage ended differently. A Filip Hronek point shot bounced off several sticks and eventually Tyler Bertuzzi to beat Korpisalo for a 3-2 Detroit lead...on their fifth shot of the night.
3-2 Red Wings, Bertuzzi (12) from Larkin (14) and Hronek (12) at 1:58
Columbus went on the power play for the first time at 5:29 by way of an Anthony Mantha hook. It took a little while, but the CBJ PP would bear fruit on Kevin Stenlund’s first career goal. Seth Jones kept the puck in the Detroit end and patrolled the blue line, finding Cam Atkinson to send it to front of the net. Stenlund tried to hit Alexander Wennberg in the crease, but Trevor Daley broke up the pass right through Bernier’s legs for a 3-3 tie game.
3-3, Stenlund (1) from Atkinson (12) and Jones (15) at 6:54
Both teams looked in vain for an equalizer for the rest of the period. The Blue Jackets could not capitalize on a Patrik Nemeth tripping penalty halfway through, and the club announced about the same time that Andrew Peeke would not return. Peeke blocked a Mike Green shot in the first and played one shift in the second period before leaving for good.
Boone Jenner high-sticked Tyler Bertuzzi with 1:07 left in the period, but Detroit could not score before intermission and the sides headed into the break tied, 3-3.
Columbus killed the rest of the penalty without incident and found a goal of its own shortly after the expiration. Pierre-Luc Dubois flew in on a rush and flicked a puck on its edge past Bernier’s glove to give the CBJ the lead back. Great shot, bad defense, whatever.
4-3 Blue Jackets, Dubois (11) from Texier (5) at 1:19
Cam Atkinson created a golden chance with nine minutes left, intercepting a D-to-D pass and speeding down for a partial breakaway that Bernier saved. Bernier bailed out the Wings a few seconds later, stopping a point-blank Boone Jenner shot in the crease.
Anthony Mantha hit the post with about five minutes to go. A tic-tac-toe play (and a stickless Jenner) let Mantha fire off a backhand that glanced off the post to Korpisalo’s right and skitter away from danger.
From there, the Red Wings threw everything they had at the Blue Jackets, drawing iron again from Robby Fabbri:
*breathes huge sigh of relief* pic.twitter.com/WLURIfaq4C— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) December 18, 2019
The CBJ stood tall and Gustav Nyquist potted an empty-netter with seven seconds left to ice the win.