The coaching staff was displeased with the effort and concentration in their last outing and let the team know it in practice this week. Aaron Portzline at The Athletic had the details:
“I don’t recognize our team,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “When you watch it, that’s what you take away from it. That’s not who we are.
“It’s nice to point out the obvious. You watch it and it kind of makes the stomach turn for some guys … for all of us, it should. Sometimes, the best way to move forward is to see where it is that you don’t want to go back to.”
The Blue Jackets’ practice felt different on Monday, more serious. Tortorella blew drills dead and barked corrections whenever a coverage was botched. Assistant coach Brad Shaw lit into the group for being too passive, not closing on pucks quickly enough.
It was all five-on-five work, an attempt to find the Blue Jackets’ forecheck that’s gone missing so far this season. They can’t find it because of their stunning inability to get the puck out of their own zone with possession and speed.
Michael Del Zotto missed the game with a lower body injury. Elvis Merzlikins is out week to week following his injury.
I'm filling in for @BrianHedger today with the #CBJ. Just got lineup update for tonight's game vs. Chicago. No changes at forward. David Savard is back in after missing Saturday with an illness. Michael Del Zotto, who missed yesterday's practice, is out. Korpisalo is in goal.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) February 23, 2021
Here’s what happened.
The first real chance of the game came on a turnover behind the Blackhawks net - Boone Jenner picked up a loose puck and found Nick Foligno in front of the net, but his shot was swallowed and covered by Kevin Lankinen just 90 seconds into the game. A scramble to the right of Korpisalo with 14:50 remaining presented Chicago’s first chance as Alex DeBrincat and Pius Suter caused some mayhem, but the Jackets were able to clear the danger.
As the teams crossed the seven minute mark, Chicago managed a strong shift that pinned Columbus into their defensive zone - every game, Columbus has a stretch where they cannot clear the zone and suffer extended defensive shifts. Adam Boquist nearly scored on a goal mouth pass but was unable to tip it past Korpisalo. This time, the extended pressure resulted in a penalty as Kevin Stenlund was boxed for high sticking Connor Murphy with 12:41 remaining. Chicago was able to capitalize on the power play as Columbus scrambled in front of the net, with guys turned around looking for the puck. In the end, Carl Soderberg put it past Korpisalo. David Savard and Scott Harrington were lost in coverage on defense.
Chicago goal (0-1): Soderberg from Kane and Debrincat, 8:11
With 10:03 gone, a turnover exiting the zone led to another goal. Max Domi’s pass attempt hit Pius Suter on the lef and ricocheted right Mattias Janmark, and he fed Patrick Kane who put it past Korpisalo with ease.
Chicago goal (0-2): Kane from Suter and Janmark, 10:03
At this point in the game, Chicago had 17 shot attempts to Columbus’ two. Absolutely against the run of play, Columbus got one back. A turnover on the wall led to a goal with 8:26 remaining as Cam Atkinson picked up a loose puck through the zone and he was able to get behind Duncan Keith and beat Kevin Lankinen five hole.
Columbus goal (1-2): Atkinson from Jenner, 11:34
Columbus o continued to get pinned into the defensive zone, ceding time and possession to Chicago’s forward group. With 4:18 remaining, Columbus managed their first extended zone time for the better part of five minutes, but Alex Texier’s line could not come up with an equalizer. With 2:54 remaining, Columbus turned the puck over again exiting the zone, but this time Korpisalo was able to make the glove save.
With 2:45 remaining, a puck caught Patrik Laine high on the side of his head/neck area and he was forced off the ice in some difficulty. He got some attention from the training staff, but did not leave the bench.
Columbus saw out the rest of the period, maintaining their one goal deficit. Shots on goal favored the Hawks 17-5. Attempts favored the Hawks 26-10. Absolutely horrific period.
Seconds into the period, Columbus earned a power play as Carl Soderberg went off for tripping Cam Atkinson. It took six seconds for Patrik Laine to rip a laser past Lankinen To tie the game at two. Unreal shot.
Columbus goal (2-2): Laine from Jones and Roslovic, 0:48
With 18:11 remaining, Dominik Khubalik was robbed by a sliding Korpisalo (who was then piled on by Foligno and Harrington, not what you want to see with Elvis hurt).
On a break with 16:24 remaining, Oliver Bjorkstrand was awarded a penalty shot as Duncan Keith took him down. He was unable to get Lankinen to flinch and was denied - hesitated too much.
Chicago scored on a rush as David Kampf put the puck past Korpisalo, but it was waved off as Matthew Highmore absolutely ran over the Columbus goaltender. Highmore went off for goaltender interference at 5:46. Chicago was able to kill the power play and immediately capitalized on the momentum. Brandon Hagel scored his first NHL as the Jackets collapsed after transition, allowing Chicago to cycle the puck around the net until Korpisalo was absolutely helpless. Savard and Gavrikov looked turned around while Stenlund and Domi failed to backcheck sufficiently.
Chicago goal (2-3): Hagel From Kane and Soderberg, 8:12
Columbus earned another power play and, again, Patrik Laine delivered. With a wrist shot where he could pick his spot, Laine tied the game with his second power play goal of the night.
Columbus goal (3-3): Laine from Atkinson and Jones, 9:24
With 9:47 remaining, Max Domi was boxed for slashing Patrick Kane, giving Chicago a power play chance. That was definitely a pressing penalty, a case of a guy who is struggling trying to do too much.
Chicago forced a Columbus icing with 4:59 remaining and, off a set play off the faceoff, reclaimed the lead. Dominik Kubalik Ripped a shot through traffic that went just under the bar to retake the lead.
Chicago goal (4-3): Kubalik from Keith and Soderberg, 15:05
The teams went to the dressing room with Chicago leading 4-3. Shots favored the Hawks 28 17, attempts at 5v5 favored the Hawks 39-19.
Scott Harrington took a high sticking penalty 1:46 into the period, sending Columbus on a critical kill early in the third period. David Savard took a tripping call with 50 seconds to go, giving the Hawks nearly a minute of a 5 on 3. Inexcusable penalty from a player who has been inexcusably poor this season. In the dying seconds, Boqvist managed to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead, confirmed by review.
Chicago goal (3-5): Boqvist from Kane and Kubalik, 6:50
With 1:19 remaining on the Savard penalty, the Jackets went back to work on the kill. They somehow managed to kill it off.
In a scrum post whistle, Savard threw Kane into the boards, who slashed him in retaliation. Savard was boxed for interference, Kane for slashing. Savard’s second penalty of the third period. A bad night and season continue to spiral down for him. On the four on four, Roslovic sprung Atkinson but the puck was bouncing and Cam couldn’t get a clean shot.
Kampf went to the box with 11:47 remaining for hooking Scott Harrington, allowing for a 4 on 3. This time, Bjorkstrand scored from the right hand circle at the 10:00 mark, the Jackets’ third power play goal of the night.
Columbus goal (4-5): Bjorkstrand from Roslovic, 10:00
With 4:00 remaining, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his second goal in two shifts. Patrik Laine recovered a puck along the wall and fed Bjorkstrand who beat Lankinen to tie the game at 5. Sure.
Columbus goal (5-5): Bjorkstrand from Laine, 16:00
Despite trading chances, the teams went to overtime tied at 5.
Starting Jenner and Atkinson In overtime and taking the scorers of four of the team’s five goals on the night off the ice is certainly a choice one can make. Kampf nearly put it in his own net, but Lankinen kept it out.
Lankinen managed to stop Roslovic on a breakaway late in overtime to preserve the Hawks’ chances. Bjorkstrand was denied at the death as Lankinen stood tall. After five minutes of three on three, the teams went to a shootout to settle this one. DeBrincat scored for the Hawks, Lankinen stopped all of Atkinson, Laine, and Roslovic and Chicago escaped with the second point.
Chicago Blackhawks 6 Columbus Blue Jackets 5 (SO)
Nine points for Cam Atkinson against the Blackhawks this season. Hopefully the team can convince him they’re playing Chicago every night, since he has seven total points in the other 14 not-Chicago games this season.
Patrik Laine became the first Blue Jacket since Scott Hartnell in 2014 to score two power play goals in one period. His shot is unreal. Hopefully the team is scheming to help find ways to get him the space to get it off more more, both at 5v5 and on the power play.
Oliver Bjorkstrand is streaky finishing, and he scored two goals on two shifts tonight. He now has eight points in his last nine games.
Nick Foligno should never play in overtime. Boone Jenner taking the faceoff and then dashing to the boards for the captain to come out is bad. Come on. What are we doing here. Stop doing this.
Columbus earned a point tonight, but lord they looked awful. Laine and Bjorkstrand carried the team with three power play goals (four total), but at even strength this team was atrocious. Out attempted 43-28, outshot 25-17, CF% of 39.44%. Just not good enough.
I can’t be mad, because the same issues we talk about every single day cropped up again, regardless of film or bag skates or whatever. Tonight, this team got three power play goals for the first time since god knows when and still managed to find a way to squander a point. Savard and Harrington looked horrific. Columbus never led in this one. This game was weird, but it feels like a serious missed opportunity to not give Bjorkstrand a chance in the shootout.
okay, I said I wouldn’t be mad, but one thing: FIND A WAY TO WORK ON BREAK OUTS AND ZONE CLEARANCES, OH MY GOD, I AM TIRED OF THIS TEAM BEING WORSE THAN DETROIT AT CLEARING THE ZONE. It’s embarrassing, it costs them night in and night out, and that’s an area the coaching staff can make meaningful difference and hasn’t. Do better.
No rest for the marginally good. The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their four games in six days stretch with another matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM EST.