While the Blue Jackets vs. Predators game may have been the least interesting thing to happen within the NHL today, it still did happen - I watched it, I enjoyed it, and I am happy to tell you more about it.
Despite the Blue Jackets not being tonight’s headliners, the game was not entirely without meaning - the Preds missed out on their opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in their 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets.
The Predators were off to a quick start with Tanner Jeannot scoring just three and a half minutes into the first period. Despite initially being caught on their heels, the Jackets appeared fairly high-energy, generating two more shots than Nashville in the first period (10-8).
There were a few moments when tensions were high and hands were thrown, but did not result in any penalties. I’m glad the guys kept it interesting yet relatively tame compared to the main event happening on the east coast. The period ended 1-0, Predators.
Juuse Saros sent a puck over the net, resulting in an early power play for the Blue Jackets - Jack Roslovic was able to capitalize, scoring a rebound and knotting the game 1-1.
This goal was significant for a handful of reasons:
- Roslovic’s 100th career point with the goal
- Cam Atkinson’s 400th career point with the assist
Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre made the suggestion that Roslovic and Atkinson cut the goal puck in half and split it - sounds like a workable solution to me!
Calle Jarnkrok was able to retaliate with a little over two minutes left in the period, scooping an opportunity to score off a poor Patrik Laine pass. Oliver Bjorkstrand answered immediately, re-tying the score at 2-2 with a little less than a minute left in the second period. He was originally awarded the assist on Roslovic’s goal earlier in the period, so it’s fitting that he was instead able to break 40 points this season with his own goal.
The Jackets went to the PK early after a Vladislav Gavrikov tripping penalty and were able to successfully close it out. With seven minutes left in the period, Gavrikov was able to redeem himself with a shot tipped in by Mikhail Grigorenko - that’s two assists tonight each for Gavrikov and Mikko Lehtonen.
The Jackets found themselves in the rare position of being ahead in regulation - not just ahead, but up from behind. Saros exited the ice with just over two minutes remaining, and Bjorkstrand sealed the deal with an empty netter, solidifying a 4-2 regulation win over the Predators in Nationwide Arena, nudging a playoff spot clinch just out of Nashville’s immediate reach.
It was fun to watch the Jackets play well and genuinely appear to enjoy themselves on the ice tonight against a team that put up a decent fight. The Jackets return to their home ice on Friday night to round out their final season games against the Detroit Red Wings.