I suppose I set the wheels in motion by being a bit flippant in the preview about the Detroit/Columbus record in recent years. It happens. The Columbus Blue Jackets went to Detroit (apparently, per Rimer, this is Werenski’s hometown) to take on the Red Wings and Z’s best friend in the whole world, Dylan Larkin. This game was not very fun to watch. The Jackets seemed ill at ease from the get go and it did not really improve until the game ended. Three Detroit goals — none of them saveable by any goalie — against one Columbus goal by Nick Foligno and made possible by Alexandre Texier makes for a 3-1 CBJ loss to kick off the weekend. Here are some details:
Early on in the first period, the Red Wings managed to hit the post three (3! Trois! Tres!) times when shooting from about 10 feet away from the goal mouth. I imagined both fanbases saw this as a negative karma series of events. 1) A Jenner turnover led to a point blank chance that went ‘ping!’, 2) a botched 2 on 1 by Larkin hit the outside of the post and 3) Michael Rasmussen was left all alone about a foot from the crease and still drew iron.
Not a great defensive start, Bob!
The Jackets had a great deal of trouble putting more than one pass together while Detroit had 5 or 6 prime scoring opportunities that they could not put away. Columbus was making Detroit look cohesive, dynamic, and dangerous. That should not have been a thing.
But, in a span of 30 seconds, we learned that the earlier posts were a harbinger of negative karma for the Jackets only. At 8:29 of the period, the Red Wings saw a long offensive possession come to a close with a goal. Detroit chucked the puck at Elvis three times, managed to get the puck back after the first two misses, and finally snuck a deflected shot past Elvis. Adam Erne received credit for the goal.
30 seconds later, Cam Atkinson handed the puck to Detroit inside his own offensive zone, which left Seth Jones trying to defend multiple Red Wings. This really isn’t an easy thing to do. Dylan Larkin threaded a pass to a completely alone Robby Fabbri for the goal.
Elvis Merzlikins had zero chance on either goal. Both goals were of the ‘are you effing kidding me’ variety.
The rest of the period wasn’t terribly exciting. Late in the first, David Savard was called for a penalty and Boone Jenner joined him in the box just before Savvy’s penalty expired. The PK was able to do the job, though.
SOG: Detroit - 16 Columbus - 5 (after a late period “flurry” of shots)
Pet Peeve Alert: When a talking head gets overly general with his descriptions and is not accurately portraying what is going on.
Rimerisms - Zach back home in Detroit. Elvis gets beat twice. Hmm.
By the way, Calvin Pickard had not started an NHL game since 2019 and had not won an NHL game since 2018. The Jackets apparently felt sorry for him and decided to take it easy.
The second period started with the same anemic offense we’ve grown used to. However, around halfway through the period, the Jackets maintained sustained offensive control in the zone — generously aided by a couple of terrible Detroit clearing attempts. Texier found Foligno standing, mostly, alone next to the crease and the score was 2-1.
That was only the 3rd SOG of the period for Columbus. Maybe the goal would spark the Jackets to control play the rest of the way.
Not really. CBJ managed 9 SOG for the 2nd though.
SOG: Detroit - 24, Columbus - 14
Five minutes into the period, #8 and #3 found themselves on the same side of the net while #96 floated aimlessly in front of Elvis — no one quickly took note of Anthony Mantha on the backdoor. No one except Larkin. Detroit led 3-1.
There is not a lot to write about when the CBJ are trying to hustle their way back into a game with grit and stuff. The only item of note for the entire rest of the period had to do with Zach Werenski. He seems to be tiring of taking people’s crap. Rasmussen delivered a shoulder high hit to knock Z into Elvis’ net. Z did not appreciate this and cross checked Rasmussen (though not in the head! Sorry!), who then slashed Werenski again. End result? Werenski let it be known he wasn’t to be trifled with AND Rasmussen earned two separate penalties - interference and slashing. This canceled the ongoing Detroit power play.
That sequence was notable to me because Werenski had a couple of similar situations against Carolina sans penalties. He’s starting to take care of his own business.
Anyway, the Jackets went on to lose the game, 3 - 1.
SOG: Detroit - 34, Columbus - 22
- The Jackets skaters do not treat their goalies kindly
- When defensive play is bad, it goes really bad. I have no other suggestions. I just shake my head at this. It’s so weird to see a CBJ team be so terrible at the one thing they are supposed to be good at
- Calvin Pickard should be up for the Vezina
- This post will also serve as your gamethread for the Sunday 3pm game.