In case you somehow (thankfully) missed the last four games, the Columbus Blue Jackets entered last night’s tilt with the St. Louis Blues on a four game losing streak. The team appeared flustered and disorganized, perhaps caused by the trade drama circling around Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Needing a win, the Blue Jackets turned to Joonas Korpisalo in net. After missing the previous game because of a pregame skate injury, Cam Atkinson returned to the lineup, as did healthy scratch Markus Nutivaara. Mark Letestu remained in the lineup for Lukas Sedlak. Brandon Dubinsky left morning skate early, and Ryan Murray played after initially being deemed a game time decision, while Dean Kukan.
Jodan Binnington got the start for St. Louis, his eight of the season while sporting a 5-1-1 record. This was the Blues’ first game after their bye week.
The Jackets needed to win to stop the bleeding and put some distance between themselves and the teams rapidly closing in for the final wild card spot. Here’s what happened.
Seconds into the game, Vladimir Tarasenko was denied by Joonas Korpisalo on a breakaway and, on the ensuing rush, Josh Anderson was denied by Binnington. Wide open start to the game. Both teams played with speed and quickness to start, but only two shots total were registered in the first three minutes. The Jackets seemed to maintain control of play in the early moments of the game, but neither team was finding consistent success entering the zone. On a rush into the zone, Mark Letestu threw a shot on net but Binnington was able to cover with eight minutes gone in the first period.
It took all of eight minutes for Cam Atkinson to be reunited with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin for a face-off in the offensive zone coming out of the first TV timeout. On the ensuing rush up the ice, the Blues dumped it in and Jackets could not clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Ryan O’Reilly was able to bury the puck that squirted through Korpisalo for his ninth point in seven games.
Blues goal (0-1): O’Reilly from Pietrangelo and Tarasenko, 8:28
It was a save Korpisalo should have made as it appeared that he thought he saved it, but it did not kick out high but instead leaked through his five hole to a waiting O’Reilly on the back post for the easy tap in.
The Blues, after a slow start, began to take control of the game after the goal, dominating zone time and forcing the Blue Jackets to clear the puck, chase it out of the zone, and change before resetting. The team could not find consistent offensive zone time through the middle part of the period.
Joonas Korpisalo made a great save on a bouncing puck that was deflected just in front of his crease, but he was able to grab and hold it with five minutes to go in the period. Excellent show of reflexes from Korpisalo. Meanwhile, the offense dried up as the team went the final 12 minutes of the period without a shot.
With seconds to go, as the team is wont to do, the Jackets gave up a final minute goal. A puck found Brayden Schenn after a battle between David Savard and Carl Gunnarson, and Gunnarson was left in front of the net for a tip in goal as Dubois was late to pick him up in front of the net, according to Jody Shelley.
Blues goal (2-0): Gunnarson from Schenn and Tarasenko, 19:15
At the first intermission, the Blues led 2-0 on the scoreboard and 9-5 on the shot counter.
(By my count, the team had no shots after the first TV timeout)
Alex Wennberg shot the puck ... sorta. It was blocked after a turnover for the Blues in the defensive zone, and the Jackets never got an oportiunity on net. After the first period, Cam/PLD/Panarin all were a -2.
The Jackets earned a power play at the 3:36 mark as Vince Dunn sat for a delay of game penalty. Anthony Duclair was denied on a chance and, despite three chances on net, the team could not find the back of the net. Artemi Panarin saw a rush broken up, and Josh Anderson took a hooking penalty with 7:58 gone in the period, handing the Blues their first man advantage of the evening. The Jackets, sixth in the NHL on the penalty kill, killed the Blues penalty while allowing no shots.
Cam Atkinson, reunited with Dubois and Panarin, took several offensive zone faceoffs through the middle part of the period, leading to some extended zone time for the offense. On a rush up the ice, the Blues were denied due to a sprawling Scott Harrington breaking up a pass with his stick intended for Ryan O’Reilly just in front of the goal mouth with 6:30 remaining in the period. A big slapper from the point from Colton Parayko was denied and held for the final second period TV timeout.
Nick Foligno made a nice move to deke around a defender but his wrist shot was sacked calmly by Binnington. Columbus was taking no chances from dangerous areas and generating no rebounds. Not a recipe to score.
After two periods, the Blues lead the Jackets 2-0 on the scoreboard and 18-13 on the shot counter.
Cam Atkinson was denied just 40 seconds into the third period and the rebound skipped past Werenski and Alex Pietrangelo, wide open in front of Korpisalo, fired high over the net.
The Jackets took a cross checking penalty at 2:43 as Scott Harrington went off. Korpisalo made a sprawling save to deny the Blues while down a man and helped to force the kill as the Jackets allowed one shot for their second kill of the night.
Duclair had a great opportunity but did not hit the net between the dots with 14:30 remaining. Bad miss by Duclair.
The Jackets cut the deficit to one as a bad line change saw Panarin find Oliver Bjorkstrand to cut it to 2-1.
Jackets goal (1-2): Bjorkstrand from Panarin, 6:15
34 seconds later, another failed save by Korpisalo restored the Blues’ two goal lead at 3-1.
Blues goal (1-3): Tarasenko from O’Reilly and Schenn, 6:49
The Torts line blender hit after the third goal. Zach Werenski broke up a 2 on 1 with 10:14 gone in the the period, but it wasn’t making any difference.
With 7:45 to go - guess a line, that was as close to anything the CBJ were icing. End to end play led to the final TV timeout.
Columbus generated three shots on net through the first 15 in minutes of the third. St Louis? 12.
Duclair beat the defense but could not beat Binnington with 4:45 to go. With 3:17 to go, Korpisalo was able to cover the puck after a massive scramble in front of the net. Korpi swam and came back to the puck and covered.
PLD scored on off a Panarin pass with 2:37 to go. Dubois grabbed the puck after a great entry and setup and buried the puck top shelf.
Columbus goal (2-3): Dubois from Panarin and Atkinson, 17:23
With Korpi pulled, the Jackets went for it. The Blues scored an empty netter with 29 seconds to go.
Blues goal: (2-4): Sundqvist from Schenn, 19:30
Columbus Blue Jackets 2 St. Louis Blues 4
The Blue Jackets are not good right now. A five game losing streak.
THINGS. MUST. CHANGE.
I’m still wondering why 21+ minutes with zero shots on goal, one giveaway, no takeaways, and 36% on faceoffs means Alex Wennberg “earned his spot” and he cannot be scratched. @me Torts, because this is trash coaching.