Tuesday night was the much-anticipated debut for Columbus Blue Jackets star winger Patrik Laine. Laine started on the left side on the top line as the Dallas Stars came into Nationwide Arena for a pivotal divisional matchup.
Also making their debut were the reverse retros, which Joonas Korpisalo donned at his end, opposite starter Jake Oettinger, making his second career start. Oettinger won his NHL debut last week against the Red wings, 7-3.
Early on in the first period, Central Division player of the year for January, Joe Pavelski tipped home the games’ first goal for his sixth of the year. This would be a theme for Pavs and the Stars. John Klinberg and Jamie Benn also picked up assists on the play.
The Blue Jackets whiffed on their first period power play (1-for-3 on the night), which expired just before intermission. Laine had a shot blocked.
With 4.6 seconds left, Oliver Bjorkstand was sent off for a high-sticking double minor after clipping Joel Hanley, who skated to the bench with blood from his mouth.
Columbus only had six shots while Korpisalo stopped 12 of 13. As birthday-boy Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre mentioned, Pavelski had four of those Stars shots.
Klingberg added his second point of the night with an assist that ricocheted off Pavelski for his second goal of the night. Columbus killed the last two minutes of the original double-minor penalty.
Columbus, with power play goals in two of the last three games coming in, added another one on this night, cutting the deficit in half. Seth Jones picked up his first goal of the season with Nick Foligno and Jack Roslovic earning assists on the play.
You didn’t think this would be easy did you?
Dallas reclaimed the two-goal lead 17 seconds later with Jamie Benn taking part in the Stars’ offense and Pavelski picking up point number three on the night.
Observation on Laine: He is very calm with the puck, trusts his hands and uses his size well to keep possession.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) February 3, 2021
Also, he doesn’t make many poor decisions with it.
Next trick ... teach his new teammates how to do the same stuff. #CBJ
Dallas kept the pain coming with annoootthheeerrr second period goal on the power play. Dennis Gurianov scored it, Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz earned points, keeping Pavelski off the scoresheet for a change.
Dallas then went up 5-1 which was the score after two periods. This time it was Radek Faska inflicting pain with Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau (former Jacket) the accomplices.
the Blue Jackets did not need to take the “retro” aspect of this game so seriously— The Cannon (@cbjcannon) February 3, 2021
Korpisalo’s night was mercifully over and Elvis Merzlikins took over.
While everything went Dallas’ way, nothing went right for Columbus as when it appeared Max Domi had one, no. The pass towards Alexandre Texier was just off the crossbar.
The Stars had the 27-14 edge in shots through 40.
“Win the period.”
Mikhail Grigorenko scored to cut the deficit to three and Eric Robinson earned an assist.
Win the third.
Dean Kukan came to battle, scoring his first of the year. Vladislav Gavrikov earned an assist and Grigorenko earned his second-straight point.
The Blue Jackets might have won the third period 2-1 but the Stars won the game 6-3, netting goal six when Radulov scored on the empty net from the blue line. Benn also picked up his third point on the play.
Dallas outshot the Blue Jackets 33-26 for the night. Korpisalo was handed the loss and stopped 18 of 23 while Merzlikins stopped all nine he faced.
Here’s how the final numbers shook out courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. Columbus will face the Stars again on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena at 7 pm.
Nick Foligno came into the game at center while Michael Del Zotto paired with Seth Jones on the first Blue Jackets pairing. Dallas Stars came into the game with the third best power-play (11-for-30, 36.7%). Columbus was 8-0-0 in the last eight games against the Stars, with Dallas earning their first win against the Blue Jackets since Dec. 15, 2015. Laine came in with 18 career goals (25 points) against the Stars. Boone Jenner appeared in his 500th career game. Joe Pavelski had a game-high five shots on goal. Esa Lindell played a game-high 25:10. Patrik Laine (20:54) was -2 with two shots and the Blue Jackets’ ice-time leader among forwards. Seth Jones played a team-high 22:56.