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Game #62 Recap: Blue Jackets blow two goal lead to Flyers, drop seventh straight game

Here’s what happened.

Philadelphia Flyers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned home for the second half of their home and home with the Philadelphia Flyers as they looked to get some revenge for getting their teeth kicked in on Tuesday night. The game couldn’t have possibly gone much worse Tuesday (barring injuries), and the Jackets wanted to start fast to put the memories behind them.

The Jackets made one move in the lineup, replacing Sonny Milano with the newly-signed Stefan Matteau.

With Elvis Merzlikins back in the net and Nick Foligno playing in his 900th career game, how would the Jackets respond?

First Period

The game started with the Jackets opening the scoring just 44 seconds into the game. Oliver Bjorkstrand fired a puck high over Brian Elliott’s glove and it got stuck in the top of the net next to Elliott’s water bottle as the Jackets were in the midst of a line change. After some momentary confusion and a brief review, Bjorkstrand was credited with his 21st of the season.

Columbus goal (1-0): Bjorkstrand from Foligno and Gavrikov, 0:44

After the early goal, the Jackets continued their domination of the first five minutes as the team outshot the Flyers 7-2. Brian Elliott was forced to be sharp as he was under siege from the Jackets offense. Philadelphia struggled to maintain consistent offensive possession, swarmed by Jackets quickly who looked to keep everything from the Flyers to the outside of the zone. After a long pass up the ice, Nick Foligno found himself in behind the Flyers defense and the captain was able to score his seventh of the season at 9:05 as he put the puck between his legs and beat Elliott at the far side of the net.

Columbus goal (2-0): Foligno from Bjorkstrand and Nutivaara, 9:05

Seconds later, Philadelphia was able to get one back. The puck, fired from up high, hit Travis Konecny in the skate and it bounced into the net as he scored his 21st of the season.

Philadelphia goal (2-1): Konecny from Sandheim, 9:28

At the first TV timeout, the Jackets led on the scoreboard 2-1 and 8-3 in shots on goal.

hey there, #5 Dayton Flyers commercial during the timeout, love you guys

As the teams continued to trade end to end chances, Elvis was able to make a save on a Flyers’ three on one opportunity as he denied Joel Farabee, who was looking high stick side. Philadelphia began to find their footing, but Elliott continued to look shaky in the net, sliding out of position and frequently sliding out of position.

With 4:28 remaining, the Jackets earned their first power play as Pierre-Luc Dubois was hit in the face with a high stick from Sean Couturier. The Jackets power play, three for their last 30, went to work. The bad power play continued to be bad and didn’t manage to muster a single shot on goal. In the dying seconds, the puck found its way loose in front of the crease but was cleared as the teams went to intermission.

After one period, the Jackets led 2-1 with goals from Foligno and Bjorkstrand.

Second Period

The second period started with the Jackets looking to regain the front foot and, while they were unable to generate a truly dangerous chance, the Jackets dominated zone time and didn’t let Philadelphia establish any zone time. Their patience was rewarded as a Boone Jenner shot hit Stefan Matteau on the stick and he was able to deflect it past Elliott for his first of the season and his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

Columbus goal (3-1): Matteau from Jenner and Nutivaara, 3:39

As the teams crossed the five minute mark of the second, Philadelphia was able to register a solid shift in the Columbus zone but Kevin Hayes was unable to control the puck on Elvis’ glove side to get a shot off. Claude Giroux had an excellent chance with 13:16 remaining, but Elvis was able to cover and freeze the puck.

As we crossed the halfway mark of the second period, the Jackets and Flyers continued to trade zone time but not trade chances - neither team was able to muster much offensively in the period as the first 12 minutes of the period saw nine total shots on goal between the two clubs. With 6:00 to go, Nathan Gerbe dropped a pass to Oliver Bjorkstrand who fired low on Elliott but Elliott was able to snag and hold the puck for a stoppage.

After a scramble in the Philadelphia zone, the Flyers brought the puck up ice on a rush Columbus was caught up the ice. As Gavrikov tried to pressure the shot, Nicolas Aube-Kubel was able to fire a shot through Gavrikov’s legs that Elvis could not get a read on and beat the netminder to make it 3-2.

Philadelphia goal (3-2): Aube-Kubel from Raffl and Niskanen, 14:26

Tough goal to allow, but not much Elvis could do - he never picked it up until late as Gavrikov screened the shooter.

After Nick Foligno took a bad penalty, the Jackets gave up a goal down a man as Gavrikov lost Claude Giroux at the far side and Giroux buried the wide open one timer past Merzlikins to tie the game at three.

Philadelphia goal (3-3): Giroux from Courturier and Konecny, 15:52

Just a horrendous couple minutes from the Blue Jackets who went from comfortably winning the game to blowing defensive assignments and gifting the Flyers a lifeline into the game.

Philadelphia bossed the next couple of minutes of the period as Jakob Voracek and Claude Giroux nearly combined for a fourth goal for the Flyers. Nathan Gerbe crushed Giroux on the boards and Travis Sandheim charged Gerbe who, despite giving up nearly a foot, took down Sandheim. As a result, the Jackets earned a power play as Sandheim went off for a cross checking minor.

With 21.6 seconds to go, as Elliott covered a loose puck, Gustav Nyquist was slashed across the wrists by Matt Niskenen and Niskanen broke his own stick on Nyquist’s arms but there was no call. Seconds later, Kevin Hayes was nailed for slashing Oliver Bjorkstrand in the most make up call of all time.

The teams would head to the dressing room tied at three, and the Jackets would open the third with 1:14 of a 5 on 3.

Third Period

The Flyers killed the 5 on 3 because of course they did. With 18:31 remaining, a Nyquist shot was deflected by Ivan Provorov and hit Nick Foligno in the face, cracking the captain’s visor (something I’ve never seen before) and forcing the captain off holding a towel to his face. The Flyers killed the rest of the penalty, allowing just one shot over the two penalties.

With 17:08 remaining, the forecheck went to work and Vladislav Gavrikov rang a shot off the post that had Elliott beaten. With 14:04 remaining, and a new visor attached, Foligno returned to the bench (sporting a new cut on the bridge of his nose). Elvis, meanwhile, was forced to dive and cover a puck in front of the net to keep the score tied at three.

With 12:25 to go, Kevin Hayes tried a backhand chance but he was denied as Elvis got just enough of the puck. Andrew Peeke got a shot off in transition with 11:00 to go but the sharp angle effort was turned aside with ease by Elliott. Zach Werenski then forced a big save and an icing from Philadelphia as his shot from the slot was denied.

As the teams crossed the midway point of the third period, the game began to open up and both teams were finding chances in transition but both goaltenders were able to keep the score level at three. With 6:32 remaining, Couturier saw a shot deflected off of Werenski and out of play after a strong shift by the Flyers’ top line. Elvis was able to earn a stoppage with 5:44 as he denied Travis Konecny on the doorstep.

As the teams crossed three minutes remaining the Flyers commanded the run of play, dominating zone time and finding ways to get numerous tips on Elvis. With 2:02 to go, Brian Elliott and Ivan Provorov were able to clean up a mistake that saw Oliver Bjorkstrand nearly score the game winner into a yawning net. With 25 seconds to go, Konecny saw a shot go high of Elvis. As the third period expired, Bjorkstrand was ridden awkwardly into the boards and he lost an edge as he went feet first into the boards.

The third period ended tied at three, and off to overtime we went.


With end to end action for the first two minutes, both teams were denied chances on the doorstep but the score remained knotted at three. With 1:09 remaining, Kevin Hayes patiently brought the puck into the zone and beat Elvis to win the game.


Philadelphia Flyers 4 Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)

Final Thoughts

Oliver Bjorkstrand now has 14-5-19 in his last 16 games. He’s been the only consistent member of the offense over the last month, and has helped keep the team in many games here in the month of February.

Stick taps to Nick Foligno for his 900th career game. The captain had an assist, a goal, and messed up his face. An eventful night for the captain.

Stick taps also to Stefan Matteau, who scored his first NHL goal.

Vladislav Gavrikov had a tough couple minutes on Philly’s second and third goals. The second went between his legs and, as a result, Elvis wasn’t able to pick it up until it was too late. Just minutes later, Gavrikov got caught cheating toward the goal and left Giroux unmarked at the back post as Giroux hammered home the game tying goal. Tough sequence from one of the best and most consistent defenders the team has iced this season. He’ll bounce back. He nearly scored a go-ahead goal off the post late anyway.

The Blue Jackets power play remains trash. 1:27 of a 5 on 3, no shots on goal. If the Jackets could have taken advantage of one single power play tonight, the Jackets would have won in regulation. What a mess. It’s been three and a half years of this and yet nothing has changed; there is no accountability. Rinse, repeat.

Elvis has come back down to earth some after his hot streak. He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t saving everything in sight either.

Doesn’t look like Emil Bemstrom played in overtime. Not sure why you’d want to play other guys ahead of someone with a wicked shot who could help (especially with Bjorkstrand going off injured), but hey.

Blowing two goal leads sucks. The Jackets have now flushed away points to Buffalo, New Jersey, and Philadelphia (whom they’re chasing) in overtime in the last two weeks after blowing two goal leads. For a team that is injured yet prides itself on defense on keeping the other team off the score sheet, the Jackets have done a remarkable job of not doing that of late. The team fell to just 7-13 beyond regulation this year - wouldn’t some of those points be nice? The Jackets have to find a way to maintain a lead and not give up cheap goals once they take a lead (and to take advantage of chances to put other teams away on special teams). This should have been two points for Columbus. Instead, over the last two games, Philly extended their advantage over Columbus by three,

Seven straight losses. The playoff dream is on life support. Hopefully this at least convinces the front office not to be buyers, of all things, at the deadline.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets head south to take on the Nashville Predators Saturday night. Faceoff is set for 8:00 EST.

Also, go Dayton Flyers, who will be hosting the Duquesne Dukes (stupid name) Saturday at 2:00 EST at UD Arena.