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Game #73 Recap: Blue Jackets Flame Out in Calgary, Lose 4-2

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Three unanswered Calgary goals doom CBJ

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Calgary Flames Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets dropped their first game of their road swing through western Canada on Tuesday night, allowing three unanswered goals to fall to the Calgary Flames, 4-2.

Zach Werenski opened the scoring for Columbus before Johnny Gaudreau, Andrew Mangiapane and Michael Frolik scored to give the Flames a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. Oliver Bjorkstrand also found the back of the net on the power play for the CBJ, as did Matthew Tkachuk on an empty netter.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 of 30 shots while David Rittich made 31 saves on 33 shots for Calgary.

The Blue Jackets actually sported decent possession numbers (53.06 CF%, 52.56 FF% and even with seven high-danger scoring chances), but four different shots off the post and a big Flames swing that spanned the first and second periods were enough to do them in. Here’s NaturalStatTrick’s Corsi gameflow:

Corsi 5v5 from Columbus/Calgary on March 19, 2019 NaturalStatTrick.com

First Period

The Blue Jackets controlled the opening action by notching the first five shots until Bobrovsky was pressed into action on a good look from Travis Hamonic seven minutes into the game.

With 12:33 left in the period, Pierre-Luc Dubois gave Calgary the game’s first power play when he took a slashing minor. The Blue Jackets only allowed two shots on the advantage thanks to two solid stops from Bob.

Zach Werenski scored soon after the penalty expired by forcing a turnover in center ice and capitalizing offensively. Werenski interrupted a Flames pass in the neutral zone for a give-and-go with Artemi Panarin, skating in for a 2-on-1 and beating David Rittich blocker-side for an early Blue Jackets lead at 10:25.

Blue Jackets 1, Flames 0, 9:35 left in the first period

The CBJ lead lasted for a little over two minutes, however. Derek Ryan scooped up a rebound behind the net and found Johnny Gaudreau all alone in the high slot for a quick wrister that beat Bobrovsky. Tie game.

Blue Jackets 1, Flames 1, 7:16 left in the first period

Columbus created chances late in the frame but could not convert. Lukas Sedlak drew iron on a shot minutes before Ryan Dzingel hit the same post with Rittich sprawled on his belly in the crease. Those misses would’ve been painful enough on their own, but they stung even more when Andrew Mangiapane scored with 7.2 seconds left on the clock. The Flames took advantage of a failed Riley Nash clear and set up Mangiapane for a backhand goal and a 2-1 lead through one period.

Flames 2, Blue Jackets 1, 7.2 seconds left in the first period

Second Period

The Flames didn’t wait long to extend their lead. Thirty-five seconds, in fact. Michael Frolik took a pass from T.J. Brodie and skated through four Blue Jackets, including deking Seth Jones out of his skates, on his way to a strong wrister and 3-1 lead.

Flames 3, Blue Jackets 1, 19:25 left in the second period

Garnet Hathaway and Adam McQuaid dropped the gloves early in the period to settle an earlier dust-up in the first. McQuaid bloodied up Hathaway in a judges’ decision as both players headed to the box to address their wounds (hand and face, respectively). The beef arose in the first when Josh Anderson tried to score and collided with Rittich, drawing Calgary’s ire.

Dubois hit another post 7:30 into the period for the third ping! of the night for Columbus. Rittich kissed the post when the puck went back up-ice.

The Flames suffered a scary moment midway through the period when a David Savard shot hit the back of Noah Hanifin’s helmet from only a few feet away. Cam Atkinson won a board battle in the corner and connected with Savard in the high slot, whose shot Hanifin dove in front of. Hanifin skated off under his own power and returned shortly before intermission.

The CBJ were able to apply some sustained pressure (including a Dubois shot off the crossbar) and drew a power play at 14:55. Rittich and the Flames had to dive and collapse in the crease to stop several shots in the first 15 seconds of the advantage, prompting a review from Toronto. It appeared that Mark Giordano may have stopped an Atkinson shot with his glove in the blue paint, though you really couldn’t see much and the situation room determined the puck never crossed the line.

Third Period

The Blue Jackets started the third like the first, throwing shots at Rittich (including a juicy chance from Dzingel two minutes in) and evening up the overall shot count. The pressure would pay dividends when Columbus headed to the power play on a Mangiapane tripping penalty at 4:08.

Columbus established some zone presence but couldn’t solve Rittich, at least until a rush from Josh Anderson gave Oliver Bjorkstrand the time and space he needed. Bjorkstrand picked his spot above Rittich’s glove on a beautiful snipe to pull the CBJ within one with a power play tally.

With 9:38 left and deep in their own zone due to their straight icing call, the Flames took a delay of game minor when they tried to stall and change players a little too slowly. Panarin had some looks, but neither he nor any of his teammates could capitalize on the PP.

The Flames registered their first shot of the period with 7:11 to go in regulation (11 shots for Columbus). Columbus kept at it in vain.

Bob headed off the ice at the two-minute mark while passes skipped past CBJ sticks and off Calgary skates. Matthew Tkachuk scored the empty-netter to seal the Flames win, 4-2.

Final Thoughts

  • Bad night for Columbus with respect to other scores in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina won in a shootout against Pittsburgh and Montreal beat Philadelphia in regulation.
  • Calgary’s a good team. The Flames became the first team in the Western Conference to punch their ticket to the playoffs and came into Tuesday night’s game with plenty of rest. Still, this team is almost in “these are playoff games” territory. Calgary should be the toughest opponent on the trip. Beat Edmonton and Vancouver and things will look a lot more rosy.
  • Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois all had their looks (combining for 10 shots between them), but only one assist from Panarin. That line (broken up as it was late in the game) has to get going if the Blue Jackets are going to be successful.
  • The Blue Jackets went 1-for-3 on the power play. That’s good! They also won 39 percent of their faceoffs. That’s bad!
  • Brandon Dubinsky played 6:28.
  • Markus Nutivaara was a late scratch due to illness. Hopefully he’ll be back on Thursday. The trio of Dean Kukan, Scott Harrington and Adam McQuaid aren’t gonna win you a ton of games.
  • Edmonton on Thursday. Please win.