Despite winning three of their previous four, the Columbus Blue Jackets did not play well in their last two games. As a result, Brad Larsen implemented the line blender. The new look Jackets headed to Music City to try and find their game against the Nashville Predators. Spoiler alert: they did not find their game.
The Predators struck first when Alexandre Texier gave Filip Forsberg too much time and space. The veteran Swede wristed a shot past Elvis Merzlikins that the goalie had no chance of stopping.
NSH Goal 1-0: Forsberg (Granlund, Duchene) 4:56
The Predators stayed on the attack after the goal. Forsberg rang a shot off the crossbar and the Jackets had trouble keeping the puck out of their own zone.
Yegor Chinakhov tripped Forsberg at the halfway point and put the team that was already dominating possession on the power play. Fortunately, the Jackets penalty kill was up to the task.
The wheels fell off after the penalty was over. The Predators scored two quick goals to put the Jackets behind by three. The first was off a two on one and the second only nine seconds later on a quick wrister from the slot.
Joonas Korpisalo entered that game before Elvis could manage to hit the 15 minute mark.
NSH Goal 2-0: Trenin (Sissons, Jeannot) 12:43
NSH Goal 3-0: Forsberg (Granlund) 12:52
Columbus managed to push back a little bit, but they again found themselves scrambling and diving in their own end before the buzzer mercifully blew.
It was an atrocious start to the game. The team played poorly from top to bottom. It’s not worth mentioning fancy stats because they didn’t do justice for how badly the Jackets were caved in. It looked like the Canadian National Team versus the AHL All-Stars.
Brad Larsen went back to the familiar lines to start the second. The difference was immediately noticeable. The white sweaters had a little more jump and managed two high danger scoring chances early.
The Blue Jackets got their first power play after Gus Nyquist took a stick to the neck. The power play success would continue when a nifty pass from Max Domi found Jack Roslovic for a goal. Unfortunately, the Predators would challenge for offsides and win. The game remained 3-0.
The pain continued when Forsberg capped off the hat trick on a pass from Granlund.
NSH Goal 4-0: Forsberg (Granlund, Duchene) 15:26
Nashville power play. Even more pain. Forsberg’s fourth goal of the night.
NSH PP Goal 5-0: Forsberg (Granlund, Johansen) 19:54
The Jackets played better in the second period. They won the shot and possession battle, but they couldn’t do enough to stop Forsberg and Granlund.
Gavin Bayreuther dropped the gloves against Tanner Jeannot to start the third. Jeannot tried to get a piece of Jakub Voracek after a scrum, but Bayreuther would have none of that.
The zone exit issues continued as the Predators struck again after a failed clear attempt.
NSH Goal 6-0: Cousins (Tomasino, Novak) 7:15
Fortunately for Columbus, the final buzzer would eventually sound.
Juuse Saros played very well and the Elvis-Korpi combo did not. You could tell early that Saros was locked in. Once the Predators went up by three in the first period, you could feel that the game was mostly over.
Mark Borowiecki took a blindside run at Sean Kuraly in the third period. The goon decided to take his frustration of only having one point in his last two seasons out while his team was up by six goals. These guys have no place in today’s NHL.
Larsen and company need to quickly find a remedy to the sluggish play. The Jackets came out slow and discombobulated to start this game. Blown defensive assignments, poor zone exits, and sloppy neutral zone play continue to plague this team. Each game since the win against the Jets has been a step in the wrong direction. With the Capitals looming this weekend, it will behoove the Jackets to turn it around against the Stars.
The Blue Jackets are heading to Dallas to take on the Stars Thursday night. Puck drop is at 8:30 EST.