Coming off back-to-back losses against a pair of the NHL’s top teams, the Blue Jackets looked for redemption against the St. Louis Blues. Elvis Merzlikins got his first start of the season, and Larsen engaged in a bit of line shuffling, but no substitutions.
The Blues immediately established control of the game, generating a couple chances and putting the Jackets on their heels early. Cole Sillinger got nabbed for a hooking penalty, and Pavel Buchnevich made the Jackets pay.
BLUES POWER PLAY GOAL - Pavel Buchnevich from Krug - 5:05 1st Period
The Blues kept the pressure on, but the Jackets got a couple good chances, including Johnny Hockey attempting to bank one in off Binnington’s bottom, and Roslovic trying to poke one in on a half-breakaway. Things evened out towards the end of the frame, but the period ended with the Jackets still down 0-1.
In case just one goal every 20 minutes wasn’t enough for you, the Blues and Jackets combined for three in the first three minutes of the second.
First, Tarasenko won the one-on-one against Merzlikins after Werenski got stripped from behind. It seems like the Jackets have completely forgotten players can be behind them, as our opponents must have easily stripped the puck from a defender looking up-ice at least 20 times this season.
BLUES GOAL - Vladimir Tarasenko from Faulk and Thomas - 1:04 2nd Period
Shortly after, Gus Nyquist got a gritty goal off a rebound from Gaudreau. It’s the 400th assist of Johnny Hockey’s career.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL - Gustav Nyquist from Gaudreau and Gudbranson - 2:21 2nd Period
In case that wasn’t enough for you, Sean Kuraly turned on the jets to get past a Blues defender, and when Binnington went for the pokecheck, he went for the top shelf. Tie game.
BLUE JACKETS GOAL - Sean Kuraly from Olivier and Robinson - 2:39 2nd Period
After the goals, Boone Jenner got called for a slashing penalty. Columbus struggled on the PK but kept it tied. And then, for the first time this season, the Blue Jackets actually controlled the pace of the game, getting turnovers in the offensive zone and quickly exiting the D zone. The Blues got a couple chances, yet the Jackets got more; the goalies stood tall to keep it 2-2.
And then the Blue Jackets got a Power Play, and everything went downhill. The Blues likely could’ve killed the penalty in their sleep, and St. Louis was in control for the last seven minutes, and outright dominated the last two or so. Merzlikins had to full on enter God Mode (or “Dievu Režīms” in Latvian according to Google translate) for the Jackets to escape tied. Still, it was easily the Jackets’ best period of hockey so far in the season,
The Blue Jackets got obliterated for 10 minutes, had two goals scored on them in twenty seconds, and then got dominated for another 10 minutes.
BLUES GOAL - Ivan Barbashev from Schenn and Buchnevich - 10:43 3rd
BLUES GOAL - Jake Neighbors from Leddy - 11:03 3rd
With Columbus desperately needing any type of spark, nothing came forth. Directly after spending their timeout with 96 seconds left, things immediately collapsed again and Tarasenko ripped his second of the night.
BLUES GOAL - Vladimir Tarasenko, unassisted - 18:29 3rd
The worst part about this is that the Jackets didn’t even get a chance, and didn’t look like they were all that interested in generating them. In fact, they actively gave St. Louis chances, turning the puck over constantly. Neighbors was able to just walk through the slot uncontested on his goal. Arguably the best period of CBJ hockey so far was followed immediately by the worst.
It was just really sad. This team is just really sad.
Next game is Tuesday versus the Vancouver Canucks. We are contractually obligated to see you then.