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Preseason Recap #4: Despite 3-point, 2-goal game by Lilja, Blue Jackets can’t overcome Blues

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The Blue Jackets met the defending champion Blues Sunday afternoon, but fall 5-3, despite two goal effort by Jakob Lilja.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, this is going to be an abbreviated recap of Sunday’s preseason game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues, as the game was not televised for either team. Thus, I was relegated to listening, initially to the Blues’ version of things.

Better than nothing, but do better NHL.

Anyway, onto the ice. Jakob Lilja scored two goals as part of a three-point afternoon, and Brandon Dubinsky had two assists, but the Blue Jackets fell to the Blues Sunday afternoon, 5-3, in the second of a back-to-back on the preseason circuit.

Elvis Merzlikins had 29 saves, while Jordan Binnington made 21 of 24 stops in the win. Columbus held the early edge in shots as the first period played out, but the Blues took over from there.

St. Louis’ broadcasters were wondering aloud if Elvis was a common name in Latvia. Then luckily I found the Blue Jackets audio thanks to PD and Elaine, and I was greeted by our good friend Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre over the radio.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jakob Lilja got Columbus on the board after a Marko Dano steal helped to set the play up, but the Blues countered quickly, with a goal from the slot by Jaden Schwartz. Both players picked up their first goal of the preseason.

Each team failed to convert on a power play chance in the first period, and the Blues held the 14-9 shots advantage through one period.

In the second period, Lilja decided to keep the fun going, as he netted his second goal of the afternoon, and Brandon Dubinsky earned his second assist of the day.

However, the early afternoon trends continued as St. Louis, again, countered quickly to tie the game at two goals. Alex Pietrangelo scored on the power play.

Late in the second, the Blues took the lead for the first time, as Tyler Bozak deflected one past Merzlikins. The score would remain 3-2 after 40, and the Blues had a 10-7 shots advantage in the second, 24-16 overall.

In the third, we had a Riley Nash sighting, as he tied the game at three, with help from the busy Lilja.

The back and forth affair continued, with a little roof shot action by Klim Kostin. Sammy Blais added insurance at 12:02 to extend the lead, for the eventual 5-3 win.

Speaking of insurance, the Jackets need to check that roof out, apparently.

It’s only preseason, and the Blue Jackets can surely go back to the drawing board as they continue to iron things out. With three more preseason games to go, and more cuts on the way, we’ll start to see more of the regulars as the workloads increase. Any NHL action for Merzlikins is only a chance for him to further acclimate himself to the North American ice, and the NHL way of doing things.

While it’s unlikely we see much more from Lilja, it sure was nice to see him shine with the two goals on the day. Also, nice to see a Riley Nash tally, as I’m sure he will have a better season ahead.

Extras

Alexander Wennberg and Adam Clendening led the Jackets with four shots each. Seth Jones led the game with 24:19 ice-time. St. Louis was 1-2 on the PP, Columbus 0-2. Klim Kostin led the game with five shots, and had two points on the day (one goal, one assist).