The trade deadline has come and gone and the focus of the hockey world is back on the actual games. Unfortunately, for the first time for several players on this roster, this team will likely not be headed to the playoffs. After being sellers at the deadline and trading Nick Foligno, David Savard, and Riley Nash, the captain-less Columbus Blue Jackets would look to prove a point against the Chicago Blackhawks.
An uneventful first half of the period saw a pretty even game going both ways. Just before the halfway point of the period, an offensive sequence led to what should have been a goal for the Blue Jackets. A beautiful cross crease pass from Roslovic landed on Atkinson’s stick, but #13 was unable to get a clean shot on the gaping net. However, the boys in blue would make up for it a few minutes later. At 14:02, Sherwood would send the puck back to Jones, who would send a beautiful stretch pass through traffic to Matteau. Finding himself all alone, Matteau would rip one past an unexpecting Lankinen to make it 1-0. Congratulations to Kole Sherwood on earning his first career NHL point!
One minute later, Harrington would give the Blackhawks their first man advantage. Duncan Keith would make them pay to make it 1-1. Harrington is sporting 1.43 penalties per 60 this season, which is less than ideal. The period would end tied with Columbus owning the shot advantage 13-10 and leading scoring chances 6-5.
Highlight: Seth Jones and Michael Del Zotto were very good in the first period. Jones had the primary assist on Matteau’s goal, but he also boasted a CF% of 73.33 (11 CF, 4 CA). #3 was easily the best player on the ice.
At 17:36, the puck would sneak past Korpisalo, but after the whistle was blown. The play would be reviewed, but it was confirmed that the whistle blew prior to the puck crossing the line. This was one of those instances where they should have let play continue. That being said, it likely wouldn’t have been a goal anyway because Korpi was pushed into the net by a Blackhawk. The Blue Jackets would take back the lead a few minutes later after an absolute bomb from Patrik Laine. A good cycle in the offensive zone found Laine with the puck at the point. He slapped one bar down to make it 2-1 - assists to Domi and Gavrikov.
With 1:51 left in the period, Domi would get caught hooking Murphy. Not only that, but Max would crosscheck Murphy out of anger and then attempt to fight him. The spat earned Domi two minors and a ten minute misconduct. The Jackets would kill most of the first penalty and hold the lead.
Highlight: Offensive possession, cycling of the puck, and an open Laine led to a goal. Who’d have thought? The Fin had a good first two-thirds. Could we hear from him again later?
The Jackets would start the period with 2:09 of penalty kill. They would kill off both penalties, but not without a Texier shorthanded chance off a nifty lob pass from Atkinson. The ice would continue to tilt towards Chicago after the penalty and they’d make it 2-2 at 13:46. Kurashev fired the puck at Korpisalo off the rush and the puck managed to slip between the arm and body of the goaltender. Korpi is going to want this one back.
The Blackhawks would score again just 2:07 later to make it 3-2. Connelly threw the puck toward the net and Korpi was not ready for it. The puck slid past him through the five hole. He’s going to want that one back too.
Patrik Laine channeled his inner Rick Nash at 11:32. Laine gathered the puck behind Korpisalo and turned on the Jets (no, not those Jets). He took the puck the length of the ice while speeding by and dancing around all five Blackhawks. He deked around Lankinen and swept the puck past the goalie while in mid-air to make it 3-3. Elite power forward Patrik Laine coming through. This is the player Jarmo wants him to be.
Lowlight: Korpisalo let in two very soft goals in the third. It’s hard to put a large amount of blame on one single player, but this one probably should have ended in regulation.
The Jackets saw a few chances, including one from Laine, but it was Hagel and the Blackhawks that had the final say in this one. Blackhawks win 4-3.
Despite the result, there was a lot to like in this one. Overall, the skaters played very well and looked loose for a change. Patrik Laine played his best game as a Blue Jacket. Jack Roslovic looked like a top six center. Seth Jones was the best defenseman on the ice. Scott Harrington had the worst CF% (42), but played a decent game outside of his first period penalty. The goaltending, however, is a different story. Korpi was not good in this game. He was often out of position and looked to be battling the puck all night. Goals two and three for the Blackhawks should have been saved. The Blue Jackets managed to play one of their most complete games of the season tonight, but ended up falling short anyway.
Laine - Domi - Bjorkstrand looked like a first line. They looked dangerous every time they were on the ice. They had an xGF% of 71 and a shot advantage of 8-1. It was too bad they got split up after Domi’s misconduct.
The Blue Jackets will take on the Stars in Dallas on Thursday at 8:30 ET.