After a brutal loss on Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Columbus Blue Jackets were back in action less than 24 hours later against the reigning President’s Trophy winners, the Florida Panthers, and our old friend Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Panthers drew first blood, of course, and for what seems like the millionth time this season, it came off of a failed clearing attempt from a Blue Jackets defenseman. In this case it was Jake Christiansen with the sloppy tip, and Erik Gudbranson wasn’t in position to defend the shot down low, leaving Matthew Tkachuk wide open on the back door to tap in Gustav Forsling’s shot.
Matthew Tkachuk scoresheet pic.twitter.com/lo2XueMOIE— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 20, 2022
With little going right for the Jackets, Yegor Chinakhov said “I’ll do it myself” and made a great interception in the defensive zone, before taking the puck all the way to the goal himself.
The Jackets finished the period getting outshot 18-4, and faced a 10-26 5v5 shot attempt deficit, but were tied on the scoreboard. They were dreadful in the second period against Detroit last night; would this second be better?
Another Chinakhov breakaway was stopped by a big hit from Radko Gudas that drew a tripping penalty. I didn’t expect much from the power play, but they proved me wrong thanks to my guy Kent Johnson:
Credit for the goal was later changed to Boone Jenner, whose stick deflected the shot under Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove.
The Jackets had the lead and some momentum, but Florida flipped it in the back half of the period. They dominated possession and the Jackets really struggled to get the puck out of the defensive zone. Daniil Tarasov did well under pressure, but eventually if you play with fire you’re going to get burned. Aaron Ekblad was able to skate right up to the doorstep without resistance, and poked a shot under the pads.
The period ended in the same state as the first: tied on the scoreboard, but still getting dominated in possession (though not quite as bad as in the first).
Right away, Mathieu Olivier took a tripping penalty. Kind of a bad break for him, as he got knocked down first, and as he fell Forsling tripped over his arm. Luckily the red hot Sean Kuraly stepped up to swing the momentum his way:
That’s his fifth goal in the last six games, and third in his last three. We shouldn’t have to rely on that line for scoring but it’s nice for them to chip in.
Florida kept controlling possession, but it was Columbus that was able to expand on their lead, capitalizing on one of their few offensive zone possessions thanks to Gus Nyquist and Johnny Gaudreau:
He’s just so damn good. It’s a joy to watch him and we’re lucky to have him.
Johnson then tried to score a goal-whose-name-we-don’t-speak-this-week but it went wide.
Florida pulled Bobrovsky with over three minutes left, and a minute later Boone Jenner had a golden opportunity for an empty net goal, but was fouled by Ekblad. On the power play, Jenner got his second of the night, of a great assist from Gaudreau.
CAPTAIN BOONE JENNER pic.twitter.com/ETye8aqhQe— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 21, 2022
In the final minute, the Panthers got a goal back, courtesy of Colin White. There was a lot of chaos around the net and Tarasov made some saves, but couldn’t make that one.
It was an important matchup for Daniil Tarasov, going up against an opponent in Bobrovsky not just from his country, but from the same hometown, Novokuznetsk. He definitely got the better end of the matchup, making 46 saves on 49 shots faced. Bob saved just 18 out of 23. Glad we’re not paying that contract!
Florida had a not-so-nice 69% of the 5v5 shot attempt share, but the difference in this game was on special teams. Columbus got two power play goals and a shorthanded goal and that was the difference. Some credit to the Jackets defense, though: as many shot attempts as they gave up, they blocked 20 of those attempts at 5v5, and the 5v5 expected goal battle was a much more respectable 2.65-1.52, per Natural Stat Trick.
Erik Gudbranson led all Jackets in 5v5 ice time, while also having the second worst CF%. What are we doing here?
On the plus side, the most played forward at 5v5 was...Cole Sillinger! It wasn’t his best game, but glad to see him earning more trust from the coaches. It’s worth noting his numbers were better in the third period when Kent Johnson replaced Trey Fix-Wolansky on Sillinger’s line.
Fix-Wolansky, making his season debut, was the second best forward in CF%, at 35.48. (Mathieu Olivier was first. What.) TFW had two shots on goal and led the team in ixG.
Congrats to Brad Larsen on reaching the 100 game mark as head coach, even if it seems like most of us don’t want him to exceed 164.
A much-needed off day tomorrow, and then back in game action on Wednesday night in Nationwide against the Canadiens.