This game was billed as a big game - and it was - given the implications of a win versus a loss between two teams currently in a tight race for a wild card spot.
But, as you know if you suffered through watching that game, that’s not what happened. Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre said it best when he said in his post-game remarks:
“It was kinda like going to a movie where you get all hyped up and hear all the reviews and it’s exciting, but then it’s like, ‘blah.’”
The Jackets needed to come out strong, but instead they came out on their heels - to be fair, the Flyers weren’t looking particularly energetic from the get-go either, but that didn’t stop Kevin Hayes from scoring 3:28 into the first period, and then Sean Couturier scoring again one minute after that.
The Flyers’ tight defense gave the Jackets no wiggle room, which resulted in CBJ’s opportunities coming few and far between. Paradoxically, the Jackets allowed the fewest shots tonight in the season so far, but they still allowed five goals scored against them.
Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov blocked a hard shot with his torso - when he went down, it looked like he might not be getting back up. However, he hasn’t missed a game in four seasons in the NHL, and tonight wasn’t going to be the night he started - after a brief stint on the bench, he hopped back in and scored with 4:52 left in the first.
John Tortorella challenged the call and won - there was goalie interference on behalf of Joel Farabee, and the Jackets end the first period down 2-0.
Here’s a fun fact, since nothing else about the game tonight was fun:
Wells Fargo Center scoreboard informs that the distance between Columbus and Philadelphia is approximately 60,192,000 yellow jackets (the insect, not an article of clothing). So, uh, there you go. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) February 19, 2020
The Jackets appear to apply the gas a little harder this period, with no seriously helpful results. Left unattended by Emil Bemstrom, Philippe Myers scores off a deflection with 7:28 left in the second.
However, Bemstrom reconciled his mistake with a beautiful feed to Oliver Bjorkstrand on the power play with 2:39 left in the second. If there’s any silver lining to be found in tonight’s game, it’s a power play goal - and Bjorkstrand’s 20th goal of the season, making him the first Jacket to break 20 goals this year.
Kevin Hayes knocks in another 3:40 into the third period, because at this point, sure. Elvis Merzlikins is yanked and replaced by Matiss Kivlenieks - not long after, Nick Foligno is sent off for slashing, and Jake Voracek nets one with 9:46 to go in the game, making it 5-1. Jackets get another chance to slightly redeem themselves with one more goal on a power play, but it’s squandered - the game ends in a 5-1 loss.
Apparently the Jackets, who are 0-3-3 in the last six games, did not receive a strong enough wake-up call against Sunday night’s OT loss to the Devils. They are so obviously struggling with the absence of eight key players - Seth Jones being the biggest absence, in my opinion - but that’s not an excuse for a 5-1 loss tonight.
Fortunately, the Jackets won’t have long to ruminate on this loss - they get a chance at redemption on Thursday evening, when they rematch the Flyers at Nationwide Arena. Here’s hoping that the sequel is better than the original - the Jackets at least need this two-game series against Philly to be a wash if they want to remain in serious contention for these playoffs.