What a series.
Honestly, I’m not even trying to talk about Friday night’s game - that painful experience was recapped here for you to look back on if you are ever in a situation where you need to induce rage and/or tears. But frankly, it’s great to bring up just as an example of the super condensed lows and highs this team puts us through - and we wouldn’t have it any other way, right guys? I think I just felt a gray hair sprout as I wrote that sentence.
I’m all for shutting the door on that bad game and moving onto the next - which is exactly what the Jackets effectively did tonight in their do-or-die series finale against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A fast-paced, frenetic start paid early dividends as Zach Werenski nails a wrister through traffic and scores his first goal of this postseason.
The two teams really felt each other out this period, and both had a smattering of great chances: Tavares essentially missed an open net in a moment of CBJ discombobulation, but good fortune kept the puck out of the net. Liam Foudy is a live wire, and he had a couple good opportunities on goal that didn’t pan out. Spoiler alert: hang on for Period 3 rundown!
Also, this period brought us an amazing Gavrikov moment:
Gavrikov urging the puck to get out of CBJ's zone pic.twitter.com/WEnSWfXZRc— Flintor (@TheFlintor) August 10, 2020
God, I love that man.
One period over, #CBJ lead 1-0 thanks to the Zach Werenski goal.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) August 10, 2020
Shots on goal: 7-6 CBJ
Shot attempts: 16-14 CBJ
That's the first period the Blue Jackets wanted, no question.
Similar theme and feel to the first period, except there were no goals. Auston Mathews very clearly wanted it, but kept getting denied. Joonas Korpisalo is playing his ass off.
Also, you know who was rocking everything and everyone? Boone Jenner. That man was omnipresent on the ice - JLGP described him as a “diesel truck” when the other players on the ice are “Ferraris.” Pretty much!
I have nothing else to say about P2 because I’m too excited to talk about P3, here we go:
Liam Foudy with his first ever NHL goal - talk about timing! Doubling the lead over Toronto in the series finale is as good a time as any to put your first one in the back of the net on the NHL stage. What an amazing catharsis at the end of years of hype around this kid. And I say kid because I’m a kid myself and I’m somehow five years his senior. He could not be greener, which is to say he’s fresh and ready to go - he’s been biding his time, training, improving, and when he spotted his niche role in this series, he inserted himself seamlessly.
But the number of goals we scored pale in comparison to the importance of the man between the pipes, an integral key to tonight’s shutout victory - Joonas Korpisalo. What a whirlwind this series has been for him, with a perfect bookend of shutouts to mark the beginning and satisfying end of five long games. Joonas embodies the fabric of this team, which is not always perfect, and is not always pretty - but they always show up and get down to business when they need to.
Toronto did not score a 5-on-5 goal after Nicholas Robertson's tally in the second period of Game 3. Joonas Korpisalo posted two shutouts in the series. What a series victory for the Blue Jackets. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) August 10, 2020
Three stars of the game, naturally: Korpi, Zach Werenski, and Liam Foudy. Rightfully so.
There were 33 we could chose from, but this save was absolutely CLUTCH by Korpi!— x-Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) August 10, 2020
Our Save of the Game ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/3RVVW9aLIp
As Gustav Nyquist said in his post-game interview, “This is kind of what we do, it feels like. We do it the hard way and we get it done.”
Hell yeah. Except maybe, just once, for the sake of my premature gray hairs - we do it the easy way?
Final note to leave everyone with on this fine, fine evening:
#CBJ management will never say it publicly. But you’d better believe they’re taking note that the players who left for greener pastures as UFA - Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene - are all out of the playoffs.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the club that was left for dead plays on.
The Jackets play Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST.