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Game 32 Recap: Devils dismantle Blue Jackets 6-3

Dec 16, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) celebrates a goal with teammates during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of the most demoralizing win in franchise history, or at least since 2013, the Blue Jackets looked to stay in the win column against their division rivals from New Jersey. Since apparently even 5-0 leads aren’t safe, Columbus would need a fast start in this one.

First Period

DEVILS GOAL – Jack Hughes from Tyler Toffoli – 0:47 1st Period

Welp. On the first breakout attempt of the game, Johnny Gaudreau set up a beautiful feed to Tyler Toffoli, who sent it up the ice to Jack Hughes for a breakaway. Unfortunately, Toffoli and Hughes play for the other team.

The Devils would continue to dominate most of the rest of the period. Daniil Tarasov, who made his season debut tonight, had to face three straight breakaways for his first three shots against coming off of injury, which is less than ideal. Midway through the period, the Devils would lead in shot attempts 9-1.

The game would start to level off towards the back half of the period, led by a great individual shift from Adam Fantilli, and then a great team shift by the Zach Werenski, Nick Blankenburg, and the Russians. However, this “leveling off” included a really bad power play with 7:30 left, and the Devils scoring again.

DEVILS GOAL – Erik Haula from Dawson Mercer and Alexander Holtz – 16:21 1st Period

A too many men call against New Jersey with 1:36 left would result in an improved-yet-still-pretty-mid powerplay for the Jackets to end the period. The CBJ need to get something going fast to have a prayer in this game.

Second Period

BLUE JACKETS POWERPLAY GOAL – Kirill Marchenko from Johnny Gaudreau – 0:17 2nd Period


DEVILS GOAL – Tyler Toffoli from Jesper Bratt – 0:50 2nd Period

Welp. After the goal trade, the Devils would take control of the game, pressuring the Jackets and leaving them unable to create any offense. Around six minutes in, Sean Kuraly would take a slashing penalty, but Columbus killed it off.

Shortly after the kill, the Russians would get back on the ice, and get lucky. Yegor Chinakhov floated a puck in from the point, it’d get one or two deflections, and literally bounce past Schmid. The scorekeepers went back and forth on it being Chinakhov or Marchenko’s goal, but as of the second intermission it belonged to Yegor.

BLUE JACKETS GOAL – Yegor Chinakhov from Andrew Peeke and Dmitri Voronkov – 8:38 3rd Period

A few minutes later, a weird sequence of penalties. Erik Gudbransson would get nabbed for tripping, giving the Devils an opportunity to pull the goalie during the delayed penalty. However, as Akira Schmid made his way off the ice, New Jersey missed a pass back to the point. Schmid played the puck to prevent it from rolling into his net, but he was over the red line, which is apparently a penalty. Hardcore NHL fans will remember this rule from that one time Patrick Roy got too bored. Midway through the 4-on-4, Werenski would take a penalty, and Jack Hughes would score 5 seconds into the 4-on-3 advantage.

DEVILS 4-ON-3 POWERPLAY GOAL – Jack Hughes (2) from Tyler Toffoli and Nico Hischier – 14:54 2nd Period

The Jackets would get a bit of pressure in the last five minutes, but would head to the 2nd intermission down 4-2.

Third Period

The Blue Jackets would get a powerplay early in the period, which immediately resulted in Chinakhov getting hit high with a puck. He’d return shortly after, just like how the puck would return to the back of the Blue Jackets’ net shortly after the Devils completed the kill.

DEVILS GOAL – Nico Hischier from Jesper Bratt – 2:50 3rd Period

I’ll be perfectly honest, I completely zoned out after the 5-2 goal. My roommates were playing Wii Sports in the same room, and I was much more invested in that that watching Adam Fantilli play with Sean Kuraly and Mattieu Olivier. That happened, by the way. I agree, it is stupid.

With four minutes to go, the Blue Jackets would get one more crack at the powerplay. They’d pull Tarasov halfway through, and while they didn’t score on the powerplay, they did actually look legitimately good with the extra attacker. Alexandre Texier would make it respectable with 1:03 left.

BLUE JACKETS EXTRA ATTACKER GOAL – Alexandre Texier from Adam Fantilli and David Jiricek – 18:57 3rd Period

Jack Hughes would then return the game to its proper unrespectable state with an empty-netter for the Hat Trick.

DEVILS EMPTY NET HAT TRICK GOAL – Jack Hughes unassisted – 19:12 3rd Period

Back at it Tuesday for a visit to the Buffalo Sabres.