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Blue Jackets jump all over jetlagged Blues

The dominant performance we wanted to see from the stars

NHL: Preseason-Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With the training camp roster finally below 30, the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup tonight looked very close to the probable opening night 18. St. Louis was sending their backup goalie and few of their regular defensemen. In addition, the Blues’ plane was delayed in leaving, so even with the start time pushed back an hour, they arrived just 45 minutes before the opening puck drop. Everything was aligning for the Jackets to have a big game, and they capitalized on the opportunity.

First period

It didn’t take long to get things started. The top line (Laine/Jenner/Gaudreau) and top pair (Werenski/Boqvist) won the opening faceoff and immediately swarmed the offensive zone. They maintained possession for over a minute, and Patrik Laine was able to tap the puck in after a pass from Zach Werenski.

Yegor Chinakhov has had a great preseason, and likely had his spot on the roster locked up. He wasn’t taking anything for granted, however, and I love to see that. This was his FIFTH goal of the preseason.

On the ensuing faceoff, Mathieu Olivier dropped the gloves with Tyler Tucker and easily won the fight. OK, I guess? That’s what Olivier is here to do, though I still don’t understand why.

Kent Johnson took a high-sticking penalty and Jack Roslovic was able to score a shorthanded beauty late in the penalty kill. What I especially like about this play is how all four teammates touch the puck on its way from end of the ice to the other.

Second Period

Have I mentioned how nice it was to see Werenski back in the lineup? And have I said enough about how good it is to have Johnny Gaudreau? Case in point:

Good effort by Boone Jenner to win the puck in the defensive zone, then Gaudreau took it from there.

We know Jake Voracek is more of a passer than a shooter, but it’s also true that he had a really low shooting percentage last season. If he could just put the puck on net a little more, and get some regression to the mean, he could have a nice scoring season. He had six goals last season; this rebound tonight was his third of the preseason.

Third Period

Surely 5-0 would be enough, right? Well, I didn’t hear no bell.

The top two lines had gotten on the board, but we hadn’t yet heard from the Kent Johnson/Cole Sillinger/Justin Danforth line.

The final goal was set up by a great play from Johnson: first to battle for the puck behind the net, then to somehow flip it to Danforth. That’s Danforth’s third of the preseason.

That’s a touchdown!

Final thoughts

  • Andrew Peeke was +6 with four assists. Holy moly. Good night for the shutdown pair of Gavrikov/Peeke.
  • I thought it was Adam Boqvist’s best performance of the preseason, by far. He was invisible at best in his previous appearances, but he found another level playing with Zach Werenski. No, anyone looks better playing with Z but tonight we saw how Boqvist’s abilities can be unlocked playing with someone who is also skilled. They just whipped the puck around the ice, especially with the top forward line.
  • Daniil Tarasov wasn’t tested much, but good for him for getting the shutout.
  • Chinakhov and Danforth were MVPs of the preseason and could have rested on their laurels in this game, but instead continued to show they had something to prove.
  • Liam Foudy looked fine on the fourth line, and had one nice penalty kill shift. Not sure that it’s enough to make the roster, but I wouldn’t mind if he did. Better him than Olivier or Bemstrom.
  • In 9:31 minutes at 5v5, the Johnson/Sillinger/Danforth line were on ice for 13 shot attempts for and 6 against. It was even more imbalanced through the first 50 minutes or so. They got sheltered deployment, but made the most of it. Sillinger led the team with shot attempts and shots on goal. He has a great shot that we didn’t see enough of last year. If he can shoot more his points numbers could skyrocket (a playmaker like Johnson on his wing can help with that).
  • Good to see Boone Jenner on the ice again. I was worried he couldn’t keep up with Laine and Gaudreau, but he seemed to fit in.

Up next

The preseason reaches its conclusion on Saturday night in Washington. By the end of the weekend, we’ll likely see the final roster moves made. Who do you think has made the cut?