The Carolina Hurricanes came into tonight’s game looking to make a statement after losing to the Blue Jackets in their previous matchup. And make a statement they did, clobbering the Jackets 6-2. It was a pretty even game after the first period, but as we’ve seen all too often, a tough second period, followed by a third period collapse sank the Jackets tonight. Once again, the team looked deflated and like they just wanted to get off the ice.
It’s not just about losing, but it’s the deflating attitudes that are so obvious from a lot of these guys. The fans, who continue to show up despite this team being historically bad, deserve so much better. They deserve better from the players, and maybe even moreso, the coaches to actually have his team ready to play, put players in positions to succeed and to motivate them. Neither are performing anywhere near to an acceptable level.
Anyways, here’s how it went down.
It took less than three minutes for the Canes to get on the board. What is normally a low-danger shot from the half-wall beat Korpisalo clean and went off the post and into the net. Erik Gudbranson went to challenge Brett Pesce on the shot and may have provided a screen on the shot since Korpisalo didn’t see the puck until it was whizzing past his ear.
1-0 CAR (Pesce from Teravainen)
As if they had something to prove, Carolina kept the Jackets on their heels, pinning them in their own end forcing them to defend for long stretches. Korpisalo made a few strong saves to keep the margin just a single goal.
The Blue Jackets headed to the power play midway through the period when Andrei Svechnikov went off for a slashing penalty. Unfortunately, just seconds into the power play, before the Jackets could even enter the zone, Patrik Laine was called for a questionable interference penalty when Jordan Stall skated into him as he was standing at the blue line, negating the man advantage.
Immediately after the puck dropped on the ensuing faceoff, Brent Burns picked up the puck, skated behind the net and tucked the puck into the wide open net for a wraparound goal. Korpisalo bit hard, and was way out of position and had no chance of getting to the far post to keep the puck out of the net. The Jackets felt the puck drop should have been re-done and were pretty much standing still as Burns took the puck and deposited it into the net.
2-0 CAR (Burns from Jarvis and Slavin)
Credit to Columbus though, and Sean Kuraly in particular for answering with a goal of his own. Mathieu Olivier carried the puck into the zone and took it behind the net. He found Kuraly in front of the net and he quickly swept the puck into the net through the five-hole of the Carolina goalie.
2-1 CAR (Kuraly from Olivier and Bayreuther)
After chasing the puck for most of the period, the Blue Jackets finally had their legs after the Kuraly goal and began to generate some consistent offensive zone time. By the end of the period, the Blue Jackets closed the gap in shots, which they were trailing significantly in the first half of the frame.
The second period started fast with end-to-end action with both teams putting some pucks on net. Liam Foudy was somehow denied on a scramble in front in which he appears to have an empty cage. I’m beginning to think he will never score a goal.
Around the 8 minute mark of the period, during a scramble in front of the Jackets’ net, Kirill Marchenko committed a high sticking penalty putting the Canes on the power play for a chance to extend the lead.
Carolina threw a lot of pucks on net, but Korpisalo (and Nick Blankenberg) were there to stop them all, keeping it a one goal game.
The Blue Jackets were given a chance of their own with six minutes left in the period. As usual, the first unit looked sloppy, having difficulty entering the zone and not connecting on passes and left the ice dejected. The second unit — who have had much more success as of late — had similar struggles. Kent Johnson coughed up the puck twice trying to enter the zone, and near the end of the power play, Cole Sillinger lost control of the puck allowing Jalen Chatfield to scoop up the puck with speed. He got in alone on Korpisalo and beat him on the backhand to double the Carolina lead.
3-1 CAR (Chatfield unassisted)
There was still almost 25 minutes left in the game at that point, but that goal felt like a dagger for the Jackets. Gavin Bayreuther said in his post-game comments the other day that the team “gave up.” It was going to be interesting to see how the team responded in the third period given the circumstances.
Spoiler alert: Not great.
Nick Blankenberg took an early penalty trying to disrupt a Sebastian Aho breakaway putting Carolina on the power play to really put the game away. Carolina did everything but score, pumping five pucks at Korpisalo, but he made multiple strong saves en route to the kill.
Kent Johnson took a penalty just after the Blankenberg penalty exired when he commited a faceoff violation by playing the puck off the draw with his hand. Jody and Rimer pondered if he knew that was against the rules. Talk about a rookie mistake. Once more the penalty killers were up to the task...
But the Canes scored just seconds after. Brett Pesce came in from the point and pounced on a rebound and put the puck past Korpisalo who had just flipped off his mask as it was jarred loose on the initial shot. The referee made a judgement call and didn’t immediately stop play and the goal would stand. It was Pesce’s second goal of the night and 4th of the year. He literally scored 50% of his goals tonight.
4-1 CAR (Pesce from Aho)
Later in the period, once the game was out of reach, the Blue Jackets headed to the power play once again after Jack Roslovic was tripped by Brady Skjei. If nothing else, it would have been nice if the Jackets could score to give the good sized weekday crowd something to cheer about. However, they were able to generate just a little more than nothing, keeping the fans quiet and in their seats.
There was some rough stuff between Erik Gudbranson and Stefan Noesen after a netmouth scramble resulted in some 4-on-4 hockey.
Carolina added another with about five minutes remaining in the game after a Kent Johnson neutral zone turnover. Carolina entered the zone with possession and dropped a pass back to Jaccob Slavin who wasted no time blistering a slapshot off the post and in.
5-1 CAR (Slavin from Aho)
The Jackets had an answer of their own moments later on a broken play that saw Patrik Laine find Johnny Gaudreau from behind the goal line for a tap in goal. It was a nice play and slightly encouraging to see them connect for a goal after showing practically zero chemistry all game.
5-2 CAR (Gaudreau from Laine and Boqvist)
Nick Blankenberg, in his first game back, had to be helped off the ice after blocking a shot with his foot/ankle. Blanks struggled some in his first game back (as expected), but his energy and attitude is desperately needed with this club. It will be heartbreaking to see him miss another big chunk of time.
To literally add insult to injury, Carolina scored again off next faceoff. Erik Gudbranson failed to defend a cross-crease pass and Seth Jarvis swatted the puck into an empty net.
6-2 CAR (Noesen from Noesen and Kotkaniemi)
Even up four goals, Carolina kept coming and controlled the remaining shifts in the game throwing rubber on net until literally the last second of the game. Mercifully, the horn sounded before Carolina could add the extra point.
Finally, look how epically bad Erik Gudbranson was tonight. I’ve never seen the x-axis on one of these cards reach -6. Thanks Jarmo!
The Blue Jackets are in Detroit on Saturday to take on the Red Wings. The team will be there on the ice, but will they show up? Who knows.