The Blue Jackets had one of their patented second period implosions tonight, giving up four goals in a matter of ten minutes. It was all the Los Angeles Kings needed in order to cruise to a victory tonight.
The Jackets held tough in a wide open first period, but simply had no answer when Los Angeles turned it on in the second period.
Heres’s how it went down...
Just 15 seconds into the game, the Blue Jackets were headed to the power play. Adrian Kempe was called for elbowing Nick Blankenburg on the opening shift of the game. The first unit looked crisp with the pucks on their sticks and put three shots on net but were unable to beat Kings’ goaltender Phoenix Copley.
The game was pretty wide open to start, with both goalies making some strong saves, but none more impressive than a sliding cross-crease blocker save by Daniil Tarasov to deny Philip Danault the finish on an odd-man rush.
The Kings has a chance with the man-advantage with 12 minutes remaining in the period, but the Jackets penalty killers did not allow much of anything at all, keeping Los Angeles to the outside while clogging up the passing lanes.
Tarasov did get his chance to come up big again denying Viktor Arvidsson on a breakaway after he stripped Jack Roslovic at the blue line.
Tim Berni then bailed out both Tarasov who was way out of position after a blocked shot after a pretty ugly turnover by Johnny Gaudreau in the defensives zone.
The pace to this game was electric, and the Jackets were keeping up with arguably one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Both teams were generating scoring chances but both goaltenders were up to the task, Tarasov in particular who made 4 or 5 highlight reel saves.
All in all it was a solid road period for the Jackets. They started out strong — with some help from a power play — generating 5 of the first 6 shots, but by the end of the period, Los Angeles had outshot the Jackets 15-9. Tarasov was far and away the Blue Jackets best player in the opening period, and it looked like it may need to be that way all night for the Jackets to have a shot.
It looked as if both teams had tightned up their play to prevent the wide open play that was so prevalent in the first period.
Drew Doughty broke through and scored the game’s first goal after he broke the ankles of Lane Pederson at the blue line to give himself time and space. After dog-walking Pederson, he walked in on Tarasov and tossed a backhander on net that was saved. Doughty skated right through Adam Boqvist and batted in his own rebound to put the Kings on top.
1-0 LA (Doughty from Grundstrom and Kupari)
The Kings must have sensed blood in the water at this point because from that point on, Los Angeles really had the Jackets on their heels. It took only three minutes for the Kings to strike again.
Anze Kopitar finished a nifty passing sequence highlighted by a no-look, one-touch pass from Quinton Byfield. That kid is going to be good.
2-0 LA (Kopitar from Byfield and Anderson)
The Kings Kept the pressure on and took just five minutes to score their next goal. Viktor Arvidsson finished on a one-timer that beat a sliding Tarasov. Trevor Moore sent a beautiful pass across the zone right into the wheelhouse of Arvidsson who hammered it home.
3-0 LA (Arvidsson from Moore and Danault)
Barely a minute later it was 4-0. Andrew Peeke lost his stick in the defensive zone, and then lost his brain. He stood around indecisively, only attempting to retrieve his stick as Carl Grundstrom was coming out from behind the net with the puck. Seeing as Peeke was off on the opposite side of the ice, Grundstrom was all alone in front of Tarasov and he promptly roofed a wrister over the glove of Daniil.
4-0 LA (Grundstrom unassisted)
That was it for Tarasov, as Larsen sent Michael Hutchinson to take over netminding duties. After a strong first period, things really took a turn for the worse in period two for young Tarasov. His team did him no favors whatsoever though, and did not give him much a chance for success tonight. It felt like just a matter of time before the wheels would fall off and the floodgates opened.
Daniil Tarasov with 23 saves on 27 shots against. Per @NatStatTrick, high-danger chances at 5-on-5 were 11-2 LA with Tarasov in the net. He kept the #CBJ in it in the first, but the deluge came.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) March 17, 2023
The bleeding was temporarily stopped, and the Jackets limped into the intermission without allowing any more goals, but the damage was done. The Jackets just had no answer for the Kings’ heavy, relentless play and simply collapsed under the pressure.
Kirill Marchenko disrupted the shutout about 5 minutes into the period, when a loose puck landed on his stick. Marchenko’s quick wrister beat Copley cleanly for his 17th of the year and first in 7 games. Must feel good for Marchenko as he recently admitted not scoring weighs on him.
The @BlueJacketsNHL are on the board with a goal from Marchenko #CBJ pic.twitter.com/S5LIpkqmW7— Bally Sports Columbus (@BallySportsCBUS) March 17, 2023
4-1 LA (Marchenko from Bayreuther)
The Jackets went on the power play shortly after with a chance to make things marginally interesting. Patrik Laine ripped a few shots from the left dot, but otherwise nothing was happening during the penalty.
Shortly after the Jackets power play expired, they decided to give one to the Kings by taking a too many men penalty.
L.A. didn’t seem too urgent with the puck and the Jackets easily killed the penalty. The Kings were happy enough to just burn a couple minutes off the clock.
The most interesting thing in the dying minutes of this one was listening to Jody Shelley discuss the recent ban on fighting in the QMJHL, the league he played in prior to going pro. I am torn on the issue personally as its been part of the game I grew up with and was part of the fabric of the game. But the injuries and potential long-term issues just make it not worth the risk, especially when talking about teenagers. I do like the idea of harsher penalties to dissuade fights for clean hits, but I’m not sold on removing it from the game altogether.
Anyways, the Blue Jackets lost.
Final 4-1 LA
Also, San Jose lost in OT again, so the three point cushion for last place has returned.
The Jackets are right back at it tomorrow night in southern California against the Anaheim Ducks for another game with draft lottery implications. Similar to Columbus, Anaheim has waited until way too late in the season to play some of their best hockey. They head into tomorrow’s game with a 5-2-3 record in their last ten games.