Okay, so I’m going to assume you guys have seen 30 Rock - if not, please do me a favor and stop reading this recap and go watch all seven seasons and come back and finish reading so that what I’m about to say will be funny - but Liz Lemon is how all Columbus Blue Jackets fans feel after the last 72 hours:
Kivlenieks tallied his fourth start of the season tonight, and Devin Shore certainly made a physical impression in his first game with the Jackets - the addition of a healthy, robust player whose newness hopefully immunizes him from the Jackets injury plague was a positive injection into tonight’s dynamic, although not enough for a win.
The Jackets had a late-game burst that briefly suggested the hope of a comeback win, but they were doomed by some sluggish, reactive moments and were ultimately outscored 5-4.
Well, Scott Harrington’s knee can be credited with Minnesota’s first goal of the evening as Eric Staal scores in less than two minutes into the first. Fortunately, Nick Foligno is able to answer with his fourth goal in the last four games.
Minnesota outshot the Jackets 17-7 this period, highlighting the toll that the last two weeks and the 11 missing CBJ players have taken on this team. Ryan Donato scored off a rebound with 47 seconds left in the first, and the Jackets end the period down 2-1.
A handful of penalties were drawn and then killed in the first ten minutes of the second, but nothing came of it until Mikko Koivu capitalizes and scores on a turnover by Vladislav Gavrikov at a little over 12 minutes into the period.
The Jackets bungled several opportunities in this period - Emil Bemstrom nearly scored on a power play and Zach Werenski was stopped on a breakaway 3-on-1 - and both Alex Stalock and Matiss Kivlenieks made some solid saves.
Koivu struck again on another rebound with just 9.3 seconds left in the period, and the Jackets enter the third period down 4-1.
Normally, this is when I would have turned the game off. Of course, I was writing this recap, so I kept it on. I’m glad I did! If the Jackets had started the game the way they started the third period, there would have been a different result. In less than two minutes, Emil Bemstrom scored when Shore’s puck rebounded off the post (Shore was not given the assist, so it wasn’t his first with the Jackets).
One minute and 20ish seconds later, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the first time in 12 games - all of a sudden, it’s a 1-goal game. It finally looks like the Jackets have turned up to play.
Unfortunately, Kevin Fiala scored with 10 minutes left in the game - Minnesota definitely could have scored more this period, but Kivlenieks made several key saves. Werenski scored an awesome goal on a completely solo effort with three minutes to go, and the resulting push wasn’t enough to get the win, but the Jackets fought right up until the end - if only they had started fighting from the beginning!
- Kivlenieks made some important, solid saves - his play was not reflected accurately by five goal game, and the same could definitely be said for Minnesota’s Alex Stalock.
- Dubois ended his 12-game scoring draught.
- The CBJ’s top healthy scorer is a defenseman, so... that’s great.
- This is the team’s 8th game in 13 days - not an excuse, but is definitely relevant context.
- Tonight, the Jackets became the first team this season to have 11 players missing due to injury/illness.
The Jackets rematch the Minnesota Wild on Friday night in Nationwide Arena at 6:30 P.M - if they take advantage of these few days of rest, their performance tonight suggests they’re in a good place to get themselves together and beat this team on Friday.