Following their first win of the season on Monday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off with the Detroit Red Wings on the second night of a back-to-back, looking to even their season record at 2-2. After the win, head coach John Tortorella opted to juggle the lines, but did not change the skaters. He did announce that goaltender Elvis Merzlikins would get the start in net for the club.
For the Red Wings, Christian Djoos returned to skate after being in quarantine, but there are not expected to be any lineup changes. Jonathan Bernier was expected to get the start in net for Red Wings.
D Christian Djoos (No. 44) joined #RedWings for the morning skate today after being in quarantine for 10 days. Blashill said he might be available this weekend and could help the power play. He didn't reveal any possible lineup changes tonight vs. CBJ. Bernier expected to start.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) January 19, 2021
After their brawl on Monday afternoon, what fireworks would ensue between these old foes?
Here’s what happened.
Detroit opened the first period on the front foot, spending most of the first minute in the Columbus zone but without a shot to show for it. The teams were slow and sloppy through the first three minutes, with neither team generating sustained offensive momentum and only one shot on goal between them to show for their efforts. Boone Jenner forced a sprawling save from Bernier with 4:20 gone in the first, but with the puck loose in front of the crease, no one could hope on a sprawling puck as Domi reached for it but could not find contact. Columbus began to press forward as the teams crossed the eight minute mark - Domi and Boone Jenner were pressing forward, both players missing on close give and go connections.
The Jackets were clearly playing with more urgency to start this game than they did on Monday afternoon - a point of emphasis that the team would need to start faster to succeed. Liam Foudy forced a sprawling save from Bernier with 9:45 gone in the first but the Jackets, for all of their pressure, were yet unable to solve the Wings netminder.
With 8:05 remaining, Elvis was forced to make his toughest save of the night thus far, though not difficult in the grand scheme, as he calmly flashed the glove. Filip Zadina on, a break, got behind the Jackets defense with 7:45 remaining but his effort went just wide of the net as the Wings finally began to counterpunch.
Of note for the team on faceoffs:
#CBJ does appear to have Riley Nash taking some defensive zone draws. Just took one for Texier there, then Tex hopped on as the Jackets got out of the zone. Faceoffs are one spot the youngster will keep getting better with experience.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) January 20, 2021
As the teams crossed the five minutes remaining mark, a puck rolled off of Cam’s stick as the team looked to break out for a three on one and went for an icing. With 3:34 remaining, a Detroit shot from Danny DeKeyser rang off the cross bar. The shot had Elvis beat as he never saw it through a crowd of bodies in front, but he was saved by his pipe behind him.
The period ended with the teams tied at zero. Shots favored Columbus 8-7.
Just over 90 seconds into the second period, the Jackets’ effort paid off - Jenner received a pass from Domi as the Jackets led a 3 on 2 up the ice and Jenner snapped a shot over the glove of Bernier for his second of the season.
Columbus goal (1-0): Jenner from Domi and Savard, 1:38
With 18:08 remaining, Detroit went on the power play as Pierre-Luc Dubois went to the box for hooking. It took just eight seconds for Eric Robinson to have a shorthanded breakaway, but he was unable to finish past Bernier. A good chance, but his hands have to catch up to his feet. The Wings, however, were able to capitalize. Mantha was able to beat Elvis late in the power play to equalize the score at one after the Blue Jackets could not clear the zone late. The puck bounced off of Tyler Bertuzzi’s skate and Elvis lost it, and Anthony Mantha was able to capitalize.
Detroit goal (1-1): Mantha from Bertuzzi and Larkin, 3:37
The Red Wings began to take advantage of a Jackets team on their heels as the period approached the midway point. The Jackets appeared to settle back and play tentative as the Wings began to dictate pace and possession and force the Jackets to chase the puck.
With 11:57 remaining in the second, Marc Staal went to the box for hooking Cam Atkinson and the Blue Jackets earned their first power play of the season, seeking their first tally with the man advantage goal of the year. Bjorkstrand forced a great glove save, but Bernier was equal to it and the Jackets yet again failed to score on the power play, going to 0-7 on the season.
The teams continued to trade middle of the ice possession with little dangerous play as they crossed the seven minutes ratings mark. After a bouncing puck in the defensive zone, Bobby Ryan was able to capitalize and put the puck over Elvis’ shoulder as it fluttered over the Columbus netminder.
Detroit goal (1-2): Ryan from Merrill and Nielson, 14:17
With just over two minutes to go, Elvis got very lucky as another puck flew wide of the net - it had the netminder beat, but he never saw it.
The Jackets were able to escape the period without allowing any further damage. After two, the Jackets trailed 2-1 on the scoreboard and 17-16 in shots.
As the third period started, the line blender kicked into high gear for the Blue Jackets, but it was the Red Wings who posted the first dangerous chance as Sam Gagner fired a puck across the goal mouth but no one was home to beat Merzlikins. This time, though, the line blender paid off. Liam Foudy, on a deflection from a long Alexandre Texier shot, was able to beat Bernier and tie the game at two. Detroit challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but it was upheld.
Columbus goal (2-2): Foudy from Texier and Kukan, 5:04
As a result of the failed challenge, Detroit earned a bench minor for delay of game and sent Columbus back to the power play. Detroit was able to kill the penalty with little danger from Columbus.
Also ... Whrrrrrrrrrrrr.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) January 20, 2021
Tortorella line blender to start the third appears to have spit out these #CBJ forward combinations:
Foligno - Dubois - Atkinson
Jenner - Domi - Bemstrom
Grigorenko - Texier - Foudy
Robinson - Nash - Bjorkstrand
The teams continued to trade chances during continuous action as the third period wound down, but neither team could find an equalizer. The final TV timeout came with 2:29 remaining due to the lack of whistles in the period overall.
As the minutes ticked away, it became more and more a game of Columbus holding on, pinned in their own zone and ceding play to Detroit. The Jackets were able to force this one to overtime, however, earning a point on the road in Detroit.
Domi, Atkinson, and Jones got the start in overtime, but it didn’t matter. Tyler Bertuzzi buried the game winner on an odd man rush seconds into OT on a bounce that hit him in the leg after Merzlikins saved a Dylan Larkin shot.
Columbus Blue Jackets 2 Detroit Red Wings 3 (OT)
A better start for Columbus in the first period of this one. After being skated off the ice by Detroit in the first 20 minutes on Monday afternoon, the Jackets were able to outshoot the Red Wings in the first 20. The effort has to be there from the jump for this team in every game - there are better teams that will punish them for slow starts going forward in this division.
With his goal, Boone Jenner passed Brandon Dubinsky on the all time Blue Jackets point scoring list with 226. Stick taps to Boone.
Max Domi with his first point as a Blue Jacket, assisting on Boone’s goal. Stick taps to Max!
Still haven’t played a full sixty minutes yet. That’s a concern, given who the opponent for the next two games is.
The power play is still dogshit. So at least fans still have that to look forward to this year.
Elvis is not seeing the puck well early this season, and for this writer’s money, is clearly the second goaltender behind Joonas Korpisalo right now. He couldn’t do much on a few goals, but he still appeared unsure on several other chances that sailed wide or hit the crossbar.
The Jackets were outplayed down the stretch against the Red Wings, after starting poorly against the Monday afternoon. Not good enough to put together maybe sixty good minutes out of 120 against an inferior team. This team, these Blue Jackets, needs to be better against teams they should beat. The Jackets will need to split their next two games to avoid being in an early hole in the Central Division.
The Columbus Blue Jackets come home for their first two games in an empty Nationwide Arena. They play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at 7:00 EST. Gulp.