A few notable items tonight: Elvis Merzlikins’ debuted his debatable baby blue pads, Adam Boqvist triumphantly returned to the lineup, Justin Danforth made his NHL debut, and Alexandre Texier played in his 100th NHL game.
Alright, so the baby blue pads might not possess the magical qualities I anticipated. With plenty of turnovers on both sides, it was a chaotic and high-speed start to the game. Both teams had plenty of chances, but only the Red Wings were able to convert - Dylan Larkin scored with a little less than five minutes left in the period, despite the Blue Jackets outshooting the Red Wings 10-7 in the first.
Just over four minutes into the period, Michael Rasmussen seemed to catch Elvis by surprise on a long shot that squeaked into the goal. I’m a fan of the pads and don’t want to blame them, but I’ll also observe that those aren’t usually the types of goals Elvis lets by him. Coincidence, hopefully!
Fortunately, the Jackets weren’t down for too long - Boone Jenner was determined to make something happen, and he crashed the net to score the Jackets first goal of the night. I just wrote a piece about Boone’s improved play as captain, and goals like this really hammer it home - that man got a C on his chest and became the king of the Individual Effort for the CBJ.
Jenner really greased the rest of the team, as Adam Boqvist’s first goal as a Blue Jacket came within seconds after Boone’s. All of a sudden, the Jackets are tied 2-2 to end the second period.
The theme of this game was both teams having plenty of chances to score - lots of crossbars and goal posts hit, with Greiss looking pretty fabulous out there and Elvis also doing his thing for the most part. Rookie Lucas Raymond (who doesn’t look like much of a rookie when he plays against the Blue Jackets) was the first to score in the third, with only 6:23 left on the clock.
But the Blue Jackets are a comeback team, right? And in storybook fashion, Yegor Chinakhov, whose first NHL/CBJ goal we’ve all been highly anticipating, picked an excellent time to deliver by tying things up 3-3. Afterwards, he executed my favorite celly of the evening - twirling his stick with an enormous smile on his face.
Instead of going tit-for-tat and allowing the Red Wings to score the next goal, Zach Werenski buries one to finally bring the Jackets into the lead. To seal the deal, Alexandre Texier (who coincidentally played his 100th game in the NHL tonight) scored an empty netter to bring the final to 5-3.
Was it a beautiful game? No. Did we play perfectly? Also no. Was it the result we needed? Yes - they were able to pull it off in the final period to get the W, and I’m cool with that.
The Jackets play again on Thursday night in Arizona - their last matchup with the Coyotes was on opening night, when the Jackets dominated 8-2. Can’t wait for the sequel!