After an extended road trip, the Columbus Blue Jackets returned to Nationwide Arena on Thanksgiving Eve to welcome and old friend back to town - for the first time since he was traded for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, former #3 overall pick Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Winnipeg Jets came to Nationwide Arena. Dubois played 239 games and scored 159 points in his time in Columbus.
Riley Nash also made his return to Nationwide Arena with the Jets. A fourth liner signed from the Boston Bruins in free agency, Nash played 179 games and scored 33 points for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets are coming home following a sloppy victory on Monday night over the Buffalo Sabres, a game where the Blue Jackets managed seven goals (including two empty net markers) but allowed four and were shaky defensively throughout. Highlights from the Sabres game included Roslovic’s first two goals of the season, a triumphant performance from Max Domi, and two goals from defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. On a night where the Jackets were shaky in their own end, hitting the net early and often made a difference.
The Blue Jackets hadn’t seen the Jets since before the pandemic, but the lineup was largely unchanged, save for the swap of Dubois for Laine. Connor Hellebyuck got the start in net opposite Elvis Merzlikins on Wednesday night with both teams hoping to serve a Thanksgiving feast’s worth of shots.
Here’s what went down.
Columbus opened the scoring late in the first period. Just after a power play expired, Max Domi picked off a pass and found Gregory Hofman for the opening mark.
Columbus goal (1-0): Hofmann from Domi, 15:09
Oh, the Hofmanity!! pic.twitter.com/xAqxDkMExt— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 25, 2021
The Blue Jackets doubled their lead in the third period as, on a power play, Zach Werenski caught a pass from Jakub Voracek and buried his wristlet past Conner Hellebyuck for his fifth of the season.
Columbus goal (2-0): Werenski from Voracek and Boqvist, 6:49
DID YOU Z THAT?! pic.twitter.com/LPNlgSSAkd— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 25, 2021
Six game point streak for Zach Werenski.
Andrew Peeke iced the game with his first of the year on an empty netter.
Columbus goal (3-0): Peeke from Gavrikov and Texier, 16:27
Scorin' goals and throwin' the body— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 25, 2021
The Andrew Peeke Way™️ pic.twitter.com/Og0qI5DAGi
Winnipeg Jets 0 Columbus Blue Jackets 3
Zach Werenski is the unquestioned leader of the defense. He is definitely not falling off with Seth Jones leaving.
36 saves and the first shutout of the season for Elvis Merzlikins. What a stellar performance by the netminder. Elvis remains the goaltender of the future for a team punching above its weight currently.
Yegor Chinakhov and Cole Sillinger sharing a line is fun as hell. Most importantly, they are getting time to run together. Those guys are clearly developing chemistry with one another, finding each other in space for shots and chances and it’s going to pay off going into the fire. Here’s hoping they stay together for the long run this season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets hit the ice again Friday night as they welcome another Canadian visitor with the Vancouver Canucks in town. Faceoff is set for 7:00 PM EDT.