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Game #1 Recap: Blue Jackets lose Laine, get caved in by Hurricanes 4-1

Here’s what happened.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Welcome back to Columbus Blue Jackets hockey! The Columbus Blue Jackets kicked off their 22nd NHL season in Raleigh as they opened on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jackets welcomed three new faces to the lineup tonight: Johnny Gaudreau, the prize offseason signing, along with defenseman Erik Gudbranson and heavy forward Mathieu Olivier.

The team announced early on gameday that Elvis Merzlikins would miss the game due to illness, with Jet Greaves emergency recalled from the Cleveland Monsters to back up starting netminder Daniil Tarasov. Kent Johnson was simultaneously loaned to the Cleveland Monsters.

The lineups for the two teams as follows:

Here’s what happened in game one of the 2022-23 NHL season.

First Period

The teams opened the period quick, trading shots early in the game but neither finding a real scoring chance - through the opening 8:30, shots favored Carolina 5-4. The Blue Jackets, who struggled with Carolina in the preseason just last week, more than held their own early. In a two on one situation, Jaccob Slavin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi were denied a chance by a sliding Erik Gudbranson and the teams crossed the halfway mark deadlocked at zero. Credit to Gudbranson, a great defensive play.

Into the final third of the period, a neutral zone turnover led to continued Hurricanes pressure, necessitating an icing from the Blue Jackets to relieve pressure. The Roslovic line along with the Gudbranson pairing were the victims of the icing as they were hemmed for more than 90 seconds of ice time before they were able to make a change. The teams managed to see their way to first intermission tied 0-0. Columbus led in shots 11-10. Shot blocking looked very good for the Blue Jackets.

The biggest highlight of the period for the Blue Jackets in the first was probably this hit by Cole Sillinger on Teuvo Teravainen.

Second Period

Patrik Laine opened the scoring 11 seconds into the second period. A turnover in the Hurricanes zone forced by a forecheck from the first line and Patrik Laine made the Hurricanes pay as Zach Werenski lifted a stick and forced the turnover which led to Laine’s goal. Columbus took the first lead of the game.

Columbus goal (1-0): Laine, unassisted, 0:11

The teams began to really trade chances after the first goal - first Justin Danforth was denied by Frederik Andersen, then Jakub Voracek was forced to block a heavy shot from Sebastian Aho. The second period definitely had more energy early.

Frederik Andersen made a huge save on a scramble in front of the net as Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner both had looks in a scrum at the top of the crease with 15:04 remaining in the second. The scrum ended with Brent Burns driving Boone Jenner to the ice. Seconds later, a horrific turnover by Jack Roslovic led to the tying goal for Carolina. Roslovic gave the puck to Seth Jarvis behind the net on a bad backhand pass and Jarvis walked out and put it past Tarasov for the tying goal. Awful, awful, horrific decision by Roslovic.

Carolina goal (1-1): Jarvis, unassisted, 5:12

So the lead lasted all of five minutes. The Jackets responded well as they forced saves off of shots from Jenner and Werenski, but the score remained knotted at one. The Hurricanes ramped the pressure through the middle part of the period and, even worse, Patrik Laine was forced to the locker room. He went down the tunnel favoring his arm. Meanwhile, Carolina penned Columbus in deep for long stretches - the “poor in the defensive zone, not great in puck possession” Jackets of last season began to resurface.

Carolina took the first penalty of the night as Brett Pesce was called for interference with 9:20 to go. Gustav Nyquist took Patrik Laine’s spot on the top power play unit. The Jackets power play, same as it ever was, struggled to set up possession due to turnovers early in the power play and it was absolutely dead to rights until, out of absolutely nowhere, Cole Sillinger appeared to walk through the Carolina defense and score on a huge individual effort. Carolina challenged for interference and the goal was (rightfully) taken off the board for offside. Carolina killed off the remainder of the penalty with no issue.

With 7:02 remaining, the Jackets went back to the power play as Calvin de Haan tripped Johnny Gaudreau. Naturally, the Jackets lost the opening faceoff to waste time before entering the zone and turning the puck over. Classic Jackets. Carolina killed the power play as Columbus forced literally zero pressure, then earned their own power play as Cole Sillinger was boxed for slashing with 4:57 to go. Columbus spent the entire power play hemmed in, but was able to stave off the immense Carolina pressure and kill the penalty despite repeated failures from the kill to clear the zone.

With 90 seconds remaining, a Carolina odd man rush finally paid off on the pressure and gave the Hurricanes the lead as a Brady Skjei one timer beat Daniil Tarasov to give the Canes the deserved lead.

Carolina goal (1-2): Skjei from Necas and Kotkaniem, 18:30

In addition, the Jackets announced Patrik Laine would not return. Completely horrible second period, in every single way possible.

Third Period

Of note:

The Jackets opened the period looking to push for a tying goal, but were unable to find anything resembling a dangerous scoring chance that threatened Andersen, all the while consistently losing offensive zone draws. The Hurricanes finally took control in the third period as Voracek turned the puck over in the defensive zone and gifted the Canes another goal. Necas capitalized, giving the Canes the two goal lead.

Carolina goal (1-3): Necas from Stepan and Martinook, 6:29

At 7:11 of the third, Justin Danforth gave Carolina a power play as he was boxed for slashing. Just as the power play ended, Andrei Svechnikov scored the Canes’ 4th of the night. Insult to injury. Tarasov was screened by Gudbranson and never saw it.

Carolina goal (1-4): Svechnikov from Necas and Stastny, 9:18

The Jackets did not manage much over the dying minutes, but this was fun to note:

Final

Columbus Blue Jackets 1 Carolina Hurricanes 4

Final Thoughts

Blue breezers on the road look great. Fantastic stylistic choice by the organization.

Roslovic made another god awful decision with the puck, similar to his play that gave up a terrible goal against the Calgary Flames last season. He eliminated those in his game down the stretch, but the old mistake-prone Roslovic appeared on that play. The Blue Jackets cannot afford such catastrophic decisions in the defensive zone. Roslovic has to know better.

The fact that the same power play issues remain is troubling. Sure, the team lost Patrik Laine, but failing to enter the zone or entering and then immediately turning the puck over are issues we have seen for years in Columbus. It is concerning that those issues are cropping up yet again early.

Mental mistakes, poor special teams, consistently hemmed in their own zone - the 2021-22 Blue Jackets showed up to play tonight. Losing Patrik Laine hurt, sure, but seeing the same mistakes we saw consistently last year is extremely concerning for the season’s prospects. The poor play in the defensive zone is especially concerning - Carolina is a good team, but the way the Blue Jackets were continually pinned in is a red flag.

This team was simply not good enough tonight. Poor penalties and special teams once again plagued them. Horrible play and turnovers in the defensive zone again doomed them. Erik Gudbranson, Jakub Voracek, and Jack Roslovic were all absolutely caved in in on-ice stats. Simply not good enough .

Fingers crossed Laine comes back soon. The team cannot afford to be without him for long.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets return home to open their home slate of games on Friday, October 14 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM EDT.