After clinching a playoff spot with their shootout win over the New York Rangers, the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off with the Ottawa Senators to close the season with only playoff seeding on the line. A win and a loss by the Carolina Hurricanes meant that the Blue Jackets would face the Washington Capitals. Any other result meant that the Blue Jackets would play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round.
Joonas Korpisalo got the start in net, and no other lineup changes were made.
Here’s what happened in the final game of the regular season.
After a bright start by Columbus, Ottawa registered the first two shots on goal after a break started by Anthony Duclair. Pierre-Luc Dubois, however, was the player to open the scoring. Artemi Panarin drove the puck through the middle of the ice and found Dubois, who went top shelf to beat Craig Anderson for the opener on the Jackets’ first shot of the game.
Columbus goal (1-0): Dubois from Panarin and Savard, 3:39
After the opener, both teams seemed to settle into the game, with play opening up, but neither team getting dangerous looks on net. After several minutes of neutral zone play, Oliver Bjorkstrand walked through the Ottawa defense to double the lead as he found a streaking Markus Nutivaara for the easy tap in.
Columbus goal (2-0): Nutivaara from Bjorkstrand and Foligno, 9:08
After another Blue Jackets rush up the ice, a bad Ottawa turnover in front of their own net allowed Dubois to score his second of the night by flipping the puck in off the back of Craig Anderson.
Columbus goal (3-0): Dubois, unassisted, 10:33
The goal chased Anderson and saw Anders Nilsson come into the game. Anderson allowed three goals on seven shots. Columbus’ skill and talent discrepancy began to take over as Columbus spent extended time in the Ottawa zone following the third goal, registering five straight shots.
After several strong shifts from the Senators, Korpisalo was forced to make a big save on Anthony Duclair to keep the Senators off the scoresheet. Duclair had another good chance with seconds to go, but his shot missed the net. As the period came to an end, the Jackets maintained a 3-0 lead and outshot the Senators 14-9.
Ottawa opened the second period on the attack after their lines were juggled, but the best chance of the opening minutes went to the Jackets as a Matt Duchene effort was turned aside. End to end action ensured, but through the first five minutes, only Ottawa registered a shot on goal. With 13:40 remaining, Oliver Bjorkstrand got behind the Ottawa defense again and set up Alexandre Texier but his shot went off the inside of the post.
The Jackets failed to register a shot on goal through the first 8 minutes, and Ottawa made them pay. After a turnover at the line, Thomas Chabot forced a Matt Duchene turnover and was able to score Ottawa’s first.
Ottawa goal (1-3): Chabot from Gibbons, 8:50
On the ensuing faceoff, Bobby Ryan nearly scored again for the Senators but Korpisalo was equal to it. Anthony Duclair saw a rush broken up by Scott Harrington seconds after Columbus registered their first shot of the second period with over 11 minutes gone.
On a two on one rush, Dubois looked for Atkinson, but Cam Atkinson was unable to bury the chance with 6:05 remaining.
With a rush up the ice, Bjorkstrand again found Texier, and this time Texier did not miss. He was able to settle the puck and bury it behind Nilsson.
Columbus goal (4-1): Texier from Bjorkstrand, 15:35
The Jackets saw out the period with their three goal lead intact.
#CBJ lead 4-1 after two. Even adjusted for score and venue, the middle frame was a weaker outing for Columbus, but they have a three-goal lead so…— Alison (@AlisonL) April 7, 2019
Jackets in the second with:
30.69% of shot attempts
35.26% of scoring chances
42% of high-danger attempts
Shot map: pic.twitter.com/0sMIoh3wuF
Seconds into the third, Nilsson stoned Atkinson as the Jacket looked for his 42nd of the season. It was a truly excellent save from Nilsson.
Columbus played well to open the third period with several scoring chances from Cam Atkinson as the Jackets looked to feed their leading goal scorer for the franchise record of goals in a single season. Bobby Ryan led a rush up the ice and the puck found Chris Tierney, and Tierney found Mikkel Boedker for his 7th of the season.
Ottawa goal (2-4): Boedker from Tierney and Ryan, 6:32
On a breakaway with 11:40 remaining, Anthony Duclair was denied by the stacked pads of Joonas Korpisalo.
Minutes later, Alexandre Texier won the puck below the goal line and forced a turnover to Oliver Bjorkstrand whose slapshot beat Nilsson.
Columbus goal (5-2): Bjorkstrand, unassisted, 9:28
After the fifth Blue Jackets goal, the game settled down as the Jackets simply looked to see out the victory with no injuries in advance of the playoffs. Josh Anderson was denied on a breakaway with four minutes remaining in the regular season.
A Riley Nash empty netter sealed things up on an assist from Artemi Panarin.
Columbus goal (6-2): Nash from Panarin, 18:43
Columbus Blue Jackets 6 Ottawa Senators 2
With the final game of #CBJ regular season officially underway, four players officially become “iron men” — played in all 82 games this season:— Alison (@AlisonL) April 6, 2019
Dubois’ 2nd yr in all 82. He has yet to miss an NHL game in his career.
David Savard has 2-3-5 in his last six games.
With his first career goal, Alexandre Texier registered the only point by a Blue Jackets rookie in the 2018-19 season.
Up Next - Playoffs
Last night’s results - Columbus’ 6-2 victory and Carolina’s 4-3 victory - mean the Columbus Blue Jackets will face the Tampa Bay Lightnining in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With the playoff schedule being released Sunday morning at 10:00 AM, we will know when the Jackets will hit the ice in their first round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Stay tuned to the Cannon for full coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs!