Oof! That game took me from passively optimistic to mildly hopeful - and then to neutrality, disappointment, anger, and then finally wanting to flip my TV off except for that I had to write this recap.
Post-game, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre said that Merzlikins did not have his best night (clearly) and the Jackets need to just move past this game and get ready for Detroit. Agreed! It’s also worth noting that Juuse Saros was peppered with shots early on and managed to save 38 of 40 shots throughout the game. Not an excuse, just something to consider.
The Jackets came crashing out of the gates, getting several shots off before the Predators were even able to land one. This paid off quickly; Nick Foligno scored a pretty goal, assisted by Alexandre Texier and Michael Del Zotto. Lots of early, quality shots by CBJ.
Unfortunately, Rocco Grimaldi swoops in to tie the game 1-1. Saros continued to play well, despite the early offensive onslaught by the Jackets.
Texier was called for slashing twice in two games; Tortorella looked less than thrilled.
1-1 after two periods. Not much transpired. Was I watching Thursday’s game on repeat? That’s what it felt like.
Okay, here’s where it start to get interesting and bad! Filip Forsberg pick-pocketed Zach Werenski for an early third period goal, same as Thursday. Fortunately, the Jackets were able to quickly answer with an assist by Liam Foudy and Nick Foligno. It looked like Foudy’s goal, but was called for Texier, and at that point I was happy to take either.
Brad Richardson scores, 3-2 w/ 9:00 left. Blue Jackets outshot the Predators 35 shots to 29 with six and a half minutes left in the game. Okay, not great!
Oh wait, it got worse. 4-2. Luke Kunin scored off a pass by Nick Cousins. Immediately thereafter, Colton Sissons scored right off the bench on Merzlikins, who had no nearby support. That made for three goals in four minutes and 22 seconds. Finally, there was a late power play for Nashville off a high stick by Oliver Bjorkstrand, but they weren’t able to humiliate us further - phew!
After the game, John Tortorella said, “I’m encouraged by a lot of things that came out of tonight’s game.”
John - we may not have been watching the same game, but if there’s any game to be optimistic about, it’s us playing the Detroit Red Wings next!
The Jackets have a chance to redeem themselves when they play on Monday at noon in Detroit.