If I were lazier or less aware of how amusement parks work, I would say this game was like a rollercoaster, but that’s not true - it was more of a downhill ride that got faster and steeper and more out-of-control with every passing minute. So yeah, if rollercoasters started at the top of a hill and then just descended downwards into a fiery explosion, this game was like a rollercoaster.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Okay, so we started out looking sharp! Kevin Stenlund scored 2:11 into the game off a pass from Mikko Koivu - his first point in his first shift in his first CBJ game. Nice! I hope everyone hung onto that feeling, because that was the peak of the rollercoaster in what was otherwise a downward spiral.
The Panthers definitely had some opportunities early on, but Joonas Korpisalo was solid and saving whatever Anthony Duclair or anybody else sent his way.
On the Jackets’ second shot attempt (their first being Stenlund’s goal), Texier scored! Well, Bjorkstrand dinged it off Texier, but that’s great, that’s what they’re both here for.
CBJ successfully killed a penalty, but then Duclair ripped a shot and Carter Verhaeghe put away the rebound behind Korpi. The period ended with the Jackets up 2-1, having scored two of their three shots on goal. Meanwhile, Florida put 10 shot attempts on goal and scored one of them.
Aleksander Barkov scored a little less than four minutes into the second, tying it up 2-2. Korpi had an awesome split-legged save against what could have been a second Barkov goal, and after that, the second period simmered down to pretty boring hockey. Minus one fight in which David Savard took down (literally) Patric Hornqvist, which was fun to watch.
The most notably frustrating part of this game was the zero-for-six performance on the power play. Laine, where are you?! Just kidding, I saw a bunch of people tweet that and it already worried me about when Laine gets here and doesn’t immediately improve the power play that we’re all going to be resentful, so please don’t be like that. The Blue Jackets’ power play is broken beyond any one man’s ability to repair - throw the WHOLE thing away, start ALL the way over, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Second period ends all tied up 2-2; Florida with 16 shots on goal to the Jackets’ 9.
Atkinson starts the period off great with a shorthanded wrister right past Bob, 1:20 into the third. Okay, I lied - maybe this game was a little more up-and-down than I implied in my intro. For this game to have truly been a rollercoaster, Cam’s goal would have needed to be the last one scored in the game.
Alas! That’s obviously not what happened. Actually, the Jackets went ahead and just made it as painful as possible - Bob left the net with 1:28 to go in the game, and Jackets get called for icing with 16 whole seconds left.
So naturally, Hornqvist scored on the Blue Jackets with just 2.5 seconds left. Whatever Savard hissed into his ear during that take-down really ended up working against us!
Time for overtime! Because what else would I be doing with my Tuesday night? Except maybe for celebrating a regulation-time CBJ win, but oh well.
So get this - it’s hard to believe, but the Blue Jackets were unable to score on a power play in overtime. Max Domi was tripped and nobody could put it in the net. Both the Jackets and Panthers had some solid chances, but neither could deliver and they went to a shootout, because sure, I guess we’re really just going to run this rollercoaster into the ground.
We lost in double-sudden-death shootout overtime. Mikko Koivu missed his first shot, then Frank Vatrano his. Cam Atkinson shot wide, then Jonathan Huberdeau put Florida’s first one in. Finally, Bjorkstrand is able to find the net, and Anthony Duclair missed his shot.
Sudden death! Domi nails the crossbar, and Barkov is shut down by Korpi. Mikhail Grigorenko couldn’t finish, and Patric Hornqvist poetically scores the game winner.
“Everything about their game was better than ours. Take the point and run, and learn from it,” John Tortorella said post-game. That’s really all I have to say about it too!
The Jackets have a chance for redemption on Thursday night at Nationwide at 7 p.m.