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Game #57 Recap: Roslovic, Russians rout Rangers

Feb 25, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Mathieu Olivier (24) and New York Rangers center Matt Rempe (73) fight during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

A stretch of alternating good and bad performances continued tonight, as the Columbus Blue Jackets earned a 4-2 win over the league-leading New York Rangers.

First Period

Matt Rempe has made a splash in his NHL debut this week, with two fights and 27 PIM in his first four games. Prior to this one, he challenged Mathieu Olivier during warmups. On their first shift together, Olivier obliged. Despite giving up half a foot to the 6’7″ rookie, Olivier landed the bigger punches and earned the takedown.

The Blue Jackets got the first power play of the game after Jacob Trouba held Justin Danforth. Just as the advantage was about to expire, Dmitri Voronkov scored off of a beautiful pass from Kirill Marchenko. That’s the Russian rookie’s 16th goal of the season.

Speaking of Russians, the Rangers have a pretty good on of their own who you might remember, and he tied the game late in the first period. Ivan Provorov’s clearing attempt was intercepted by Adam Fox, who was able to pass behind Provorov to Artemi Panarin. Despite a tight angle to the net and a very narrow space between the post and Elvis Merzlikins’ helmet, Panarin’s shot went in.

Second Period

Just 18 seconds into the second period, the Blue Jackets regained the lead. This time Marchenko and Voronkov traded roles, with the latter getting the assist and the former getting the goal. Marchenko showed patience as Jonathan Quick (CBJ legend) came out from the net to challenge the shot. Marchenko deked and used the extra space to shoot the puck around Quick’s right leg.

Midway through the period, Provorov took a tripping penalty but the Jackets made a great effort to kill it off. Less a minute later, however, they gave up another golden opportunity off of a turnover. Jake Bean tried to pass along the blue line to Erik Gudbranson, but the pass ended up in no man’s land halfway between Gudbranson and Yegor Chinakhov. I think Gudbranson was right not to chase the puck here, since he had no one behind him to cover. However, Adam Edstrom was able to outskate Gudbranson to the net anyway. Edstrom’s attempt to pass to Rempe in the crease deflected off of Bean’s skate instead.

The Jackets didn’t let the bad bounces get them down, and responded quickly. Just 46 seconds ater the tying goal, they took back the lead for good thanks to a Johnny Gaudreau/Jack Roslovic breakaway.

Late in the period, the Jackets added an insurance goal thanks to a 200 foot play from the top line. Gaudreau intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and made a bank pass off the boards to spring Roslovic. Roslovic entered the zone first, but slowed down to let Boone Jenner crash the net and take a defender with him. That gave the Jackets numbers as Provorov came by with no defender and plenty of room to shoot.

That makes 53 goals by Russian-born players for CBJ this season. The next closest team is Tampa Bay with 40 (38 from Nikita Kucherov), followed by the Rangers (33, all from Panarin)

Third Period

I’m sure we were all thinking the same thing, just waiting for the Jackets to have another third period collapse. Remarkably, they didn’t! It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that the Rangers even attempted much of a push. They got a gift as Voronkov took a faceoff violation penalty with just over two minutes left, giving the Rangers a 6-on-4. Neither team had anything to show for it, and when Voronkov came out of the box with 23 seconds left, he was able to possess it in the corner and kill some time.

Final Thoughts

The Rangers entered with the best winning percentage in the league, and yet the Blue Jackets have taken 5 out of 6 points from them in the season series. What the hell?

This was one of the best defensive efforts of the season, in my mind. It looked like the players actually understood what to do, and how to work together. They allowed just 8 high danger shot attempts at 5v5. They got to rebounds cleanly and got the puck up ice.

This was an important bounce-back game for Elvis after two tough nights in Southern California. The defense kept him from having to do much in the first two periods, but in the third he kept the clean sheet despite facing 2.56 expected goals against in that period alone.

The Russians are so cool. In addition to the 2 goals, they also had a staggering 73.53% of shot attempts at 5v5 when they were on the ice.

Alex Nylander made his CBJ debut. Alexandre Texier was a scratch (he is fighting a bug), so Nylander played on the line with Cole Sillinger and Kent Johnson. They were pretty invisible all night. Not much good or bad.

Up Next

The next game or both of these teams is the finale of the season series, on Wednesday night at 7:00 from Madison Square Garden.