The Columbus Blue Jackets took the short trip to Nashville hoping to turn their fortunes around — both on the road, on the road in Nashville, and against the Predators in general. The Jackets have only won 1 of the previous 4 games against the Preds this season.
And...now it is 1 of the previous 5 games against the Preds this season. The CBJ struck first in the first period but Nashville scored twice in the...twicecond...period. No one scored in the third. Here are your details, such as they are when we have a 2-1 game played by two below average teams.
Today’s phrase appears to be ‘puck management’ from Jody Shelley. I assume this means possessing the puck and not turning it over. Both teams would be rather bad at this during the first period. However, this would work out for the Jackets. Jack Roslovic forces a turnover at the blue line, Boone Jenner grabs the loose puck and makes a cross-ice pass to Cam Atkinson. Atkinson takes advantage for what seems like his 9th tap-in goal of the season. He has a knack for finishing those this year and the Jackets lead 1-0.
Then..uh.. Zach Werenski is called for a penalty and the PK holds.
Jack Roslovic gets called for a penalty and the PK holds.
Not an exciting first period after the goal.
SOG: CBJ - 9; NSH - 12
Nashville takes control of the puck from the start of the second and generally keep it. Just over a minute into the period, Nashville seems to pass up on a prime scoring chance with Korpi out of position but make up for it just a few seconds later when Mattias Ekholm slings a point shot that gets past a completely screened Joonas Korpisalo. 1-1.
The rest of the period is a case study on how passively the Jackets can play hockey. Even the high sticking that Max Domi drew was passive — he skated into a raised stick. Anyway, the power play did nothing as the Predators focus on collapsing on Laine on the rare occasion he gets the puck — this is NONSENSE. No one ever collapses on Alex Ovechkin from his office on the power play.
Korpisalo has to be solid as several ho-hum stretches of play quickly transform into Nashville scoring chances.
After 10:12, there’s a Veini Vehvilainen sighting on the bench.
The 13 - 96 - 38 line is the only one producing any kind of consistent offensive pressure. The 28 - 71 - 29 surprisingly can’t get going at all. The problem is determined to be Oliver Bjorkstrand, who flips spots with Max Domi. Aside from this slight blending of lines, the Jackets aren’t doing anything.
But Nashville is. Off a faceoff — that the Columbus Blue Jackets won — David Savard flings the puck along the wall to a waiting Ekholm who does Ekholm things and his point shot gets past Korpisalo again. Jody Shelley says this was the fault of Emil Bemstrom for not getting to the wall to contest the puck. If that’s a set play, it seems to bring unnecessary risk. Savard had all kinds of ice had he turned left rather than fling the puck to his right. If the winger doesn’t get to the wall, the puck is going to be given away. That’s what happened here. Anyway, Nashville takes the lead, 2-1.
The CBJ get one more power play and are unable to get control of the puck and deliver it to Patrik Laine. Laine shows visible frustration and earns some positive reinforcement from Torts.
The period ends.
SOG: CBJ - 18; NSH - 25
I had to pause nhl.tv here and go do some parenting things and when I came back to watch the rest of the game, NHL decided that there was only ONE highlight the entire period. The highlight? A Juuse Saros save of a Boone Jenner shot.
I opted to watch the period anyway.
I won’t get that time back.
Nashville wins 2-1
SOG: CBJ - 30; NSH - 33
Since this has been a point of interest lately:
Faceoffs: CBJ - 27; NSH - 28
- We get to watch this scintillating matchup again tomorrow!
- The penalty kill had a perfect night. This is good.
- Alexandre Texier must be boosting his agitator rating. He’s been getting under people’s skin the last few games. RyJo being the most recent victim.
- Matt Duchene should work on the facial hair.
- I have zero thoughts or suggestions on ways that this team can improve. At least not anything that I think would happen.
- No preview tomorrow - you know what’s up. Feel free to comment here until tomorrow’s gamethread goes up.