The Jackets, who lost in overtime to the Washington Capitals on Friday night, sought to keep a nine game point streak alive and somewhat salvage a bad sports weekend for the city of Columbus that saw the Ohio State football Buckeyes lose a heartbreaker to Clemson and the Ohio State basketball Buckeyes drop a game to West Virginia. No pressure there, Jackets.
There was some twitter speculation that Elvis Merzlikins would make his first home start, but that proved unfounded as Torts opted for the same lineup that fell in Washington on Friday, including Joonas Korpisalo starting in net.
Afternoon hockey today at @NationwideArena Torts says he’ll go with the same lineup today vs. Chicago including Joonas Korpisalo in net.— Dave Maetzold (@DMaetzMedia) December 29, 2019
Jenner enters tonight with points in three-straight home games (1-3-4), while Dubois has five points (3-2-5) in his last four games vs. Chicago. #CBJ— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 29, 2019
#CBJ lines vs. Blackhawks:— Jacob Myers (@Jacob_Myers_25) December 29, 2019
Could the Jackets keep their point streak alive? Here’s what happened.
The Jackets started fast: the fourth line, led by good work from Riley Nash and Alexander Wennberg, earned a power play just 2:28 into the game as Connor Murphy went to the box. Nothing came of the man advantage, unfortunately, as the Jackets fell to 3 for their last 36 on the power play. After a small bump, the team has returned to awful special teams territory.
Just after the power play expired, Ryan MacInnis threw a pass through the crease but no one was home to put it away as Robin Lehner managed to clear his crease. The Jackets dominated the shot chart early but were unable to sneak one past Lehner.
Finally, after seven minutes of pressure, the Jackets broke through. The fourth line again generated a solid shift before a Riley Nash shot bounced off a skate and past Lehner for a 1-0 lead.
Nash notches his third goal of the season and #CBJ go up 1-0, 6:54 into the contest. He now has points (1-1-2) in back-to-back games. Assisted by Gavrikov (3) and Savard (6).— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 29, 2019
With 8:55 gone in the period, the Jackets went to their first penalty kill of the afternoon as Alex Wennberg was sent to the box for high sticking. Thankfully, the Hawks power play is just as bad as the Jackets’ so nothing came of it. The Blackhawks struggled to get anything resembling an offense going for the first half of the first period.
At 13:43, the Jackets went back down a man as Kevin Stenlund was sent to the box for hooking. Again the Jackets rose to the challenge.
With 1:20 remaining in the period, Pierre-Luc Dubois doubled the lead. Dubois continued his hot streak as he finished a gorgeous play.
#CBJ Foligno with a blind, backhand pass from the left doorstep all the way across to Dubois in the right circle for a blaster. Gerbe big work on that shift, too. 2-0 at 1:20— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) December 29, 2019
The Jackets opened the second period with some extended offensive zone time to open up the period. The Blackhawks were giving up a ton of good looks. Jones had a Grade-A look from the left circle that Lehner stopped glove-side.
After some back and forth, an extended pressure time by the Blackhawks led to Vladislav Gavrikov, one of the best players of
late, making multiple saves in net in a hectic sequence.
What an unreal play from Gavrikov to preserve the shutout.
As the game slowed down, the Jackets began shuffling the lines.
#CBJ have shaken up the lines here. Dubois is centering Foligno and Gerbe, with Wennberg between Robinson and Texier, then Jenner with Nyquist and Stenlund.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) December 29, 2019
The Blackhawks took control in the second period, as Adam Boqvist forced an outstanding save from Korpisalo. Finally, at 14:16, the tide turned as the Jackets went to the power play with Dylan Strome off for hooking. The Jackets didn’t score, but Kevin Stenlund saw a shot rip off the outside of the post.
As the second period ended, Korpisalo made another flurry of saves to preserve the shutout with 20 minutes to go in the game.
A couple more big stops by Korpisalo, turning aside a deflection by Matthew Highmore and then swallowing up a shot by Dylan Strome after a turnover. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) December 29, 2019
After 40 minutes, the score was 2-0 Blue Jackets. Despite not scoring in the second period, the Jackets held the Hawks to just 12 shots through two periods (22-12 in favor of the Jackets).
As the team started the third period, the game went into a five minute day for a loose pane of glass. After another slow start to the period, Chicago finally got one on the board. Dylan Strome, with 12:38 to go, was able to tip a shot past Joonas Korpisalo and make it a one goal game. The play came as a result of Boone Jenner getting stripped in the neutral zone, leading to a rush up the ice.
As the game crossed the middle of the third period, Nathan Gerbe threw a massive hit in front of the bench. Slater Koekkoek took exception, and both players went to the box as the teams played 4 on 4 for two minutes.
Gerbe with a big hit on Gilbert, and Koekkoek goes in to make the #CBJ player answer for it, but no back down from 24.— Alison (@AlisonL) December 30, 2019
Kampf also tried to get Dubois to go with little success.
Penalties ensue and we’ve got 4-on-4 hockey. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/Ei47RPItmI
Yet again, however, Korpisalo was equal to the task. With his skaters not doing enough to take the pressure off like they were in the first period.
Some solid stops out of Korpisalo and it's a 2-1 #CBJ lead with 6:44 to go.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) December 30, 2019
At 13:51, Alex Wennberg, new stick and all, took his second stick-related penalty of the game as he went to the box for tripping.
Not a banner night for the struggling center, but he hasn’t had many of those at all this season. So it goes. The kill stood tall yet again, though, as they allowed just one shot to the Hawks.
With 3:44 remaining, however, Seth Jones took a delay of game penalty as he sailed the puck over the glass from his own end. Critical error from a veteran who should know better (so too should Wennberg, who took his second penalty of the evening just moments before). Lehner remained on the ice for the start of the penalty.
Finally, with 2:02 remaining, Chicago capitalized. The Jackets had lived dangerously for too long and the penalties finally caught up with them as Erik Gustafsson scored on a pass from Duncan Keith to knot the game at 2. Of course.
The Jackets couldn’t find a winner, and we played bonus hockey in Columbus. At least we hit a ten game point streak I guess. Blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period is pretty bad, not good enough from the skaters.
The Jackets opened with Wennberg, Nyquist, and Jones. No idea why Wennberg got the start, he was terrible on the night, but sure. Any time the coaching staff can reward two penalties on the night, they have to do it.
Shortly into the overtime period, the Jackets took another stupid penalty, this time Nick Foligno for high sticking. Back to the kill for the Jackets. To their credit, the Jackets didn’t allow a game winning goal in overtime while on the kill this time.
With 18.1 left on the clock, the Hawks were dinged for too many men on the ice. As the horn went, Zach Werenski appeared to score the game winner but the horn went before the puck crossed the line. To a shootout we went.
Werenski fires one in the net a few tenths of a second after the overtime buzzer and we'll head to a shootout. It's the second shootout of the season for the Blue Jackets (Nov. 12 at MTL, 3-2 SOL). #CBJ— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 30, 2019
In the shootout, Dubois missed and Toews scored in round one. In addition, Korpisalo got hurt and had to be helped to the locker room. Elvis Merzlikins had to come in cold to finish the shootout. Nyquist scored, Kane scored, and Gerbe was denied to end the game.
Injuries finally caught up to the overused Korpisalo.
Chicago Blackhawks 3 Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (SO)
The Blue Jackets close out 2019 at home on Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers and Sergei Bobrovsky. Faceoff is set for 7:00 EST.