The Columbus Blue Jackets went north to Alberta on Tuesday night for another makeup game, this time catching up on a tilt with the Calgary Flames. The Blue Jackets, riding a modest three game winning streak, were seeking their fourth straight victory while the Flames were looking for their sixth in a row.
The Blue Jackets announced that there were no lineup changed, though Brad Larsen did confirm that Emil Bemstrom is starting to feel better as he recovers from COVID but has not rejoined the team, and Justin Danforth (recovering from a knee injury) is practicing but is not ready to rejoin the team yet either. For the Flames, recent acquisition Tyler Toffoli made his debut with the team.
With Elvis Merzlikins in net and Patrik Laine on a six game scoring streak, the Jackets put their streak on the line. Here’s what happened.
It took just 2:10 for Calgary to jump on the board. Erik Gudbranson let a shot go from the point that made its way through Elvis and into the net. It was an innocent looking shot that fooled Merzlikins and Columbus was in the hole early.
Flames goal (0-1): Gudbranson from Lucic, 2:10
Boone Jenner had the best chance early as he found a loose puck in the slot, but Vladar was equal to the task. The Blue Jackets did well to steady themselves through the middle part of the period, taking control on the shot counter before Vladar made his best save early, stoning Gustav Nyquist right in front following a nice feed from Adam Boqvist with just over 8:30 remaining in the first period. With just over six minutes remaining, Calgary beat Elvis cleanly over his glove but the shot rang hard off the crossbar and bounced away as Columbus narrowly avoided a two goal deficit.
With just 3:30 to go, Elias Lindholm was credited with a goal, but it was certainly not him who put it in. Andrew Peeke, attempting to clear the puck, put it right in his own net. Unreal own goal.
Calgary goal (0-2): Lindholm, unassisted, 16:30
Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke puts one in on his own net to put the Flames up 2-0.— Ring of Fire CGY (@RingOfFireCGY) February 16, 2022
Elias Lindholm will get credit for this one. pic.twitter.com/dRw4xWUcCz
1:20 later, Columbus responded. On a rush, Adam Boqvist gathered a loose puck and fired it past Vladar to cut the deficit back to one, and that remained the scoreline at intermission.
Columbus goal (1-2): Boqvist from Jenner and Laine, 17:50
The first penalty of the game came with 16:16 to go in the second period as Brendan Guance was boxed for interference. Calgary had a golden chance as Backlund fired a puck with the net gaping, but the shot went wide - Columbus dodged a bullet and killed the penalty. With 13:08 remaining, however, the Jackets went back to the kill as Vladislav Gavrikov took a delay of game penalty. Peeke made great play to prevent a goal on the kill, denying Johnny Gaudreau a great look on net as the Jackets killed their second penalty of the period, allowing one shot.
Calagary had nine shots to Columbus’ two through the first part of the period, though the Jackets defense and goaltending was able to keep the deficit at one. With just over seven minutes to go, local product Trey Fix-Wolansky looked to pick a spot on the far side, but his shot missed the net.
Jack Roslovic committed a turnover with 4:16 to go, and Calgary made him pay. A bad backhand in the defensive zone led to Johnny Gaudreau feeding Matthew Tkachuk for his 26th of the year.
Calgary goal (1-3): Tkachuk from Gaudreau, 15:44
The Blue Jackets earned their first power play with 1:39 to go in the second period as Blake Coleman was penalized for holding, but it was Calgary who got on the score sheet as a two on one shorthanded for the Flames led to Dillon Dube beating Merzlikins to the short side. Backbreaker. The Jackets got caught with too many skaters pinched too far in and a clearing attempt led to an easy rush.
Calgary goal (1-4): Dube from Mangiapane, 19:14
The Flames killed the final seconds of the Jackets penalty to start the third, The teams raced neutral zone possessions until another Columbus turnover led to yet another Calgary goal. The Blue Jackets tried to break out of the defensive zone when a Brendan Gaunce turnover led to Adam Ruzicka putting a shot through Elvis Merzlikins. Elvis should game had that - awful goal to give up.
Calgary goal (1-5): Ruzicka from Lewis, 6:39
Zach Werenski clawed one back with his seventh goal of the season just 90 seconds later - a really nice finish by Werenski.
Columbus goal (2-5): Werenski from Kuraly and Nyquist, 8:08
With 8:56 to go, Tyler Toffoli scored in his Flames debut as he walked right past Elvis as put a backhand past the Columbus netminder.
Calgary goal (2-6): Toffoli from Gaudreau, 11:04
Columbus had eight shots on goal total in the final 40 minutes.
Columbus Blue Jackets Calgary Flames
Trey Fix-Wolanksy, an Edmonton native, had approximately 30 friends and family make the trip to the Saddledome. Cool moment for the youngster.
Jack Roslovic’s come-down from his surprising season last year continues. He’s struggled much of the year, and his time in Columbus could likely be coming to an end. His role has diminished, his confidence is waning, and his play is struggling. We’re likely to see him traded by the end of the season - a tough come down for the local product.
Absolutely dreadful second period - outshot 17-4, outscored 2-0. Just a complete no show for 20 straight minutes.
Elvis hasn’t had much defensive zone help this year, but he’s also let a LOT of soft goals through - ones he should have sealed off, or squeezed, or simply made a better play on. He simply hasn’t been good enough on some shots this season. Simply not good enough.
The Columbus Blue Jackets road trip continues as they visit the Chicago Blackhawks. Faceoff is set for Thursday, February 17 at 7:00 EDT.