The Columbus Blue Jackets finished up their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning nearly one week ago, sweeping the President’s Trophy winners. They still do not know their opponent for their second round series - the Boston Bruins staved off elimination on Sunday and will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in game seven on Tuesday night.
In the meantime, the Blue Jackets have earned time off. Following their upset, head coach John Tortorella gave the team two days off before practices on Friday and Saturday. The team was off on Easter Sunday, but were scheduled to return to practice on Monday morning. The team announced that, to stay sharp, Monday’s practice would be open to the public and a simulated game (scrimmage) with two 30 minute periods and a running clock.
Nationwide Arena doors opened at 10:15 AM for an 11:00 AM practice, and fans were excited.
The first player on the ice was Artemi Panarin, and the crowd roared as he pumped them up.
Of the players present, half wore their home jerseys and half wore the road jerseys. Joonas Korpisalo played in goal for the home jersey squad, while Keith Kinkaid manned the road jersey net.
As the players warm up for today's scrimmage, do not see Sergei Bobrovsky, Boone Jenner, Markus Nutivaara, Ryan Murray, Adam McQuaid, Elvis Merzlikins.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) April 22, 2019
Out there: Andrew Peeke, Vladislav Gavrikov, and the rest of the squad. #CBJ
The teams got underway with the first line of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Artemi Panarin, and Oliver Bjorkstrand facing off with Matt Duchene, Cam Atkinson, and Ryan Dzingel. The road team opened on the front foot early, with chances from Brandon Dubinsky and Vladislav Gavrikov being turned aside. This was the fans’ first look at the new Russian defenseman - he wore the number 44, and he was a big guy on the ice. Gavrikov is very much the stay at home defenseman type, but he looked like he belonged on the ice. The white team was the first team on the board. Alex Wennberg, the first fans have seen of him in a few weeks, found David Savard who put a backhand goal past Joonas Korpisalo.
Several minutes later, after an extended stretch in the offensive zone for the home jerseys, Alexandre Texier equalized the game. He was able to redirect a shot home as his impressive play continues since his call up from the Cleveland Monsters. As the first period of the scrimmage drew to a close, Texier scored his second of the day as he took a feed in between the face-off circles and roofed it past Kinkaid. In the dying seconds, Eric Robinson took a hard fall into the boards after he was tripped. Robinson was okay, however, and earned a penalty shot for his troubles. Korpisalo saved Robinson’s shot, and the teams went in for a break with the home jerseys up 2-1.
Early in the second half, Alex Wennberg knocked Foligno down in the corner. It appeared to be an awkward fall, but Foligno waved to the coaching staff that he was alright. Seconds later, he was hit again on the boards by Eric Robinson. Foligno got frustrated and bodied Robinson into the boards in frustration, but was none the worse for wear.
Alexandre Texier, Cam Atkinson, and Artemi Panarin each had chances to score in the scrimmage as the second period ticked onward, but none were able to find the back of the net. With three minutes to go, however, Panarin got on the scoreboard. He took the puck into the offensive zone and dragged the puck across the goal mouth before burying it past Keith Kinkaid. 15 seconds later, however, Brandon Dubinsky got the goal back for the road jersey team. With less than ten second to go and Keith Kinkaid pulled, Matt Duchene equalized the score at 3, and the teams would settle the score with a shootout.
Cam Atkinson scored for the road jerseys, but in the end, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Zach Werenski won the game for the home jerseys.
Here’s Zach’s scrimmage winning goal.
The team managed to scrimmage and escaped with no injuries. Huge.
It was great to see the players again - they haven’t played for a week, and fans were excited to see them. 5200 fans showed up for the scrimmage.
Vladislav Gavrikov looked fine - he’s still adjusting to the ice and his new team.
Alexandre Texier was the most noticeable player on the ice.
Is it round two yet?
oh, and this happened:
Cam skated a lap with his son as a thank you! pic.twitter.com/NNdIbIlk8m— The Second Round Cannon (@cbjcannon) April 22, 2019
Stay tuned to the Cannon for all of your Blue Jackets coverage!