The Columbus Blue Jackets roster of mostly AHL and PTO players dropped a 4-2 contest to the St. Louis Blues after jumping out to a two goal lead. The Jackets played hard, blocking shots and finishing checks, but the skill gap was evident with St. Louis icing most of their NHL roster. Yegor Chinakhov had both goals for the Jackets and looked strong and ready to compete for a roster spot.
Here’s how it went down...
The Monster-heavy Blue Jackets came out with something to prove tonight. They scored less than 4 minutes into the game during a delayed penalty. Some nice work by Gavin Bayreuther and Billy Sweezey to keep possession in the offensive zone, allowed Chinakhov to unleash his wrist shot and beat Blues’ goalie, Thomas Greiss, five hole.
Did someone order a Yegor Bomb? Chinakhov scores on the delayed penalty for CBJ to make it 1-0! pic.twitter.com/h8GsmWgsRi— CBJ Center (@CBJcenter) September 30, 2022
1-0 CBJ (Chinakhov from Sweezey and Bayreuther)
Columbus continued to press, controlling the pace of play and outshot the Blues 9-1 in the opening minutes.
The first real threat from the Blues was thwarted by a great save by Nolan Lalonde on an odd-man rush. St. Louis appeared to have woken up, about halfway through the frame, drawing a penalty for hooking shortly after. The Jackets managed to hang tough against the top unit of St.Louis, eventually drawing a penalty of their own to negate the Blues’ power play.
An uneventful remainder of the period saw the Jackets playing sound defensive hockey, getting in lanes and blocking shots, denying St. Louis’ skill players from getting pucks on net. Columbus finished the period with a 15-7 shot advantage against a team largely consisting of NHLers. That is what is referred too a good “road period.”
The Blues just missed tying the game a minute into the period after Jordan Kyrou rang a wrister off the crossbar. It looked as if the Blues would turn it on and take over the game as their roster would indicate, but the Jackets continued to play a scrappy game and keep the pressure on the Blues by generating offense from solid defense.
Columbus made St. Louis pay 11 minutes into the period, when Yegor Chinakhov buried his second goal of the night, beating Greiss on a breakaway.
Chinny scores his second of the night off a beautiful pass from Nyquist! 2-0 CBJ! pic.twitter.com/OiWnOLXShA— CBJ Center (@CBJcenter) September 30, 2022
2-0 CBJ (Chinakhov from Nyquist and Clayton)
Pavel Cajan replaced Nolan Lalonde halfway through the period, and things started to go downhill from there.
St. Louis nearly got one back shortly after the Chinakhov goal on a Tory Krug slapshot that trickled through Lalonde’s pads. Thanks to some snow accumulation in the crease, the puck slowed enough for Marcus Bjork to clear the puck from danger. Unfortunately, he did so over the glass, putting St. Louis on the power play for the second time in the game.
St. Louis wasted little time capitalizing on the power play, scoring just a few seconds into the man advantage. Pavel Buchnevich found a loose puck with a wide open cage and made no mistake.
2-1 CBJ (Buchnevich from Acciari and Krug)
With the momentum on their side, the Blues found the back of the net less than thirty seconds later when Robert Bortuzzo found the back of the net.
2-2 (Bortuzzo from Tarasenko and Buchnevich)
The Blues must have realized that they were playing a bunch of minor leaguers at some point because they took over the period. With four minutes to go in the frame they drew another penalty, putting them back on the power play with a chance to take their first lead of the game. St. Louis failed to score on the power play, but would take the lead less than a minute after thanks to a goal by a guy named Hugh McGing. As the Blues celebrated, Gavin Bayreuther and Nathan Walker dropped the gloves in the corner. It was a spirited bout, but I don’t think I’d declare either a winner in that scrap.
3-2 Blues (McGing from Pitlick and Walker)
Justin Danforth came in clutch immediately after the St. Louis goal to stop the bleeding, scoring top shelf on a breakaway after picking off a pass. St. Louis challenged the play for offsides and won the challenge, negating the goal, and the Blues carried their one goal lead into the third. Losing a goal by being offsides is truly how you know Jackets’ hockey is back.
The Jackets went on the power play just a minute into the third with a chance to tie the game and reclaim some momentum. They were unable to accomplish anything aside from putting the Blues back on the power play as their own man advantage ended.
Nine minutes into the frame, Billy Sweezey caught Jordan Kyrou with a big (clean) hit and Brayden Schenn felt the need to stand up for the young star. Gloves were dropped and Sweeney was tackled to the ice. Columbus came out of the scuffle with a power play, but was unable to put anything together.
St. Louis provided the dagger with their fourth unanswered goal with under 7 minutes remaining. Pavel Cajan overplayed a loose puck and was caught out of position allowing an easy tap in for Niko Mikkola.
Final 4-2 Blues (Mikkola from Acciari and Pitlick)
The Jackets are back in action Saturday evening at home against the Washington Capitals.