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Game #8 Recap: Patrik Laine returns, Blue Jackets get embarrassed at home by Coyotes

Here’s what happened.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned home on the heels of their big win over the New York Rangers to play host to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena. The Coyotes, pegged to be one of the worst NHL teams this season, have opened the year 1-4-0 with 13 GF and 26 GA this season. They are dead last in most stats in the league this year and are currently fighting with the Canucks for the “worst team in the league” belt.

The Blue Jackets have been seriously disappointing to start the season, but the Coyotes are so very, very much worse.

Naturally, this game remains a must win for the Blue Jackets - a win moves them over .500 for the season despite their abysmal start. The Blue Jackets, who lost Nick Blankenburg to injury against the Rangers on Sunday, recalled Gavin Bayreuther from Cleveland.

In addition, Brad Larsen announced following morning skate that Patrik Laine would make his return from injury ahead of schedule, drawing back in on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Boone Jenner.

Daniil Tarasov got the start in net for Columbus. Here’s what happened.

First Period

The first period started with both teams trading possession early, but the first shot on goal did not come until Arizona tested Tarasov 2:18 into the game. Arizona certainly started in the front foot, looking more aggressive and forechecking hard early. Columbus got their first shot in net with 4:13 gone as Patrik Laine saw a wrister saved from the slot.

The Coyotes forechecked hard early and it paid off - they drove play and led in shots on goal at the first TV timeout, though Tarasov was equal to the task. Eric Robinson was denied on a glorious chance from the slot with 11:50 remaining in the period, the best chance Columbus had through the opening minutes. With 11:00 remaining, Gus Nyquist took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone, inexcusable from a veteran player. It was a soft call, but Nyquist should know better than to dangle his stick. It took 24 seconds for Arizona to capitalize as Shayne Gostisbehere skated in and beat Tarasov clean stick side. Probably needed a better effort there from the goaltender.

Arizona goal (0-1): Gostisbehere from Boyd and Moser, 9:24

Johnny Gaudreau attempted to answer on a breakaway, but was denied at the Arizona end by the iron. The first line generated a strong shift following the whistle, but was unable to beat Ingram. Columbus dominated the period down the stretch, but struggled to find high danger chances to really threaten Arizona and were punished again as Arizona doubled their lead with 4:08 remaining. A turnover behind the net led to a wraparound and 2-0 goal. Extremely soft from Tarasov, who did not have his pad to the ice.

Arizona goal (0-2): Kassian, unassisted, 15:52

Columbus earned a power play with 3:31 remaining. Arizona killed it and led 2-0 after the first. Pathetic effort.

Second Period

The second period started much the same as the first ended - with Arizona dominating on the forecheck and Columbus unable to possess the puck. Columbus took another penalty early as Matthieu Olivier took a tripping penalty with 3:15 gone. Compounding their mistakes, Vladislav Gavrikov took a tripping minor, giving Arizona a 5 on 3 for 40 seconds. Columbus finally looked like they arrived at the arena and killed the penalties, generating a few chances of their own.

With 12:18 to go, though, Arizona stretched their lead yet again. Poor defensive play left Gostisbehere all alone on the back side of Tarasov and he was able to put it past Columbus to make the lead 3-0. Just a dismal showing defensively from the home side.

Arizona goal (0-3): Gostisbehere from Keller and Brown, 7:42

Columbus earned a power play with 9:44 to go as Arizona was dinged for too many men on the ice. Columbus, naturally, did nothing with it. With 6:05 remaining, Jake Bean was boxed with a high sticking minor. Arizona capitalized, extended it their lead to 4-0 on just 12 shots on net. Zach Werenski got walked and the shot beat Tarasov high glove, ending his night. Elvis Merzlikins took over with 4:30 to go down 4-0.

Arizona goal (0-4): Guenther from Valimaki and Maccelli, 15:22

Columbus went back to the power play with 3:54 remaining as Nemeth was penalized for delay of game. Arizona killed it again, dropping Columbus to 0-18 on the year. The period ended with no fanfare as boos rained down on the ice. Deserved. Pathetic showing.

Third Period

Arizona scored early, extending the lead to 5-0. McBain from Fischer and O’Brien, 2:10 gone. Pathetic effort from the home team

Columbus earned a consolation goal at 6:45 as Johnny Gaudreau scored from Werenski and Bean, cutting it to a four goal deficit. Small consolation.

Columbus saw another penalty killed with 9:51 to go. 0-19. Yegor Chinakhov took a double minor shortly after the CBJ power play was killed, but Columbus managed to keep the score from getting worse.

Kent Johnson scored a second goal with 2:36 remaining and it looked like he was a hostage at Nakitomi in Die Hard. That poor kid.

Lawson Crouse bagged an empty netter, Peeke capped the scoring in the dying seconds.


Arizona Coyotes 6 Columbus Blue Jackets 3

Final Thoughts

Someone needs to answer for the defense. If it’s Larsen’s system, he needs to fix it or be fired. If it’s personnel, call up David Jiricek. Getting demolished and leaving guys alone against a blatantly tanking team leaves no excuses available.

This power play is pathetic, part infinity. Glad we hired the power play coach as head coach. 0-19 on the season and counting.

When is it acceptable to hold the coaching staff and front office accountable for this dreck? Tonight’s effort was an absolute disgrace. The team got out coached, out hustled, out worked, out played, and out scored by a team that is actively trying to lose games this year and has the literal worst roster in the league. If it is not the time to ask questions NOW, when is it? When is it enough? When can we question Larsen and Kekalainen if not now after THIS?!

Didn’t we bring Gudbranson in to be physical? Elvis got ran over late and Patrik Laine did more to protect him than Gudbranson did. What would you say you do here? Didn’t this team beg for physicality and toughness? What is he on the roster for if not this?

This is a broken team. Too much to dissect in one recap. Further breakdowns coming. But no one should feel safe unless your name is Gaudreau.

It was embarrassing to be in the arena for that game as a fan of this team.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Boston Bruins in an Eastern Conference matchup on Friday, October 28. Faceoff is set for 7:00 EDT.