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Game #75 Recap: Tarasov, Nylander lead the way as Blue Jackets upset the Avalanche

Apr 1, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) reaches for the rebound of a Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Daniil Tarasov (40) save during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes hockey doesn’t make sense…

First Period

It was a pretty slow game to start. Colorado controlled play early, but Columbus picked it up in the second half.

Second Period

The Blue Jackets opened the scoring halfway through the second period. A long bomb from Cale Maker was saved by Daniil Tarasov, and Cole Sillinger collected the rebound. He passed to an exiting Johnny Gaudreau, who immediately sent the puck across ice to Erik Gudbranson. Kirill Marchenko was right with him in the center of the ice, and buried the pass in front of the net.

Congrats to Marchenko on this 20th goal of the season! The only other Jacket to start his career with back-to-back 20 goal seasons was Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Despite Colorado continuing to put on the pressure, the Jackets responded with another great breakout play. This time it was Dmitri Voronkov with the quick pass across the neutral zone to Alex Nylander.

After killing a Cole Sillinger penalty, the Jackets expanded their lead again. Unlike the first two, this goal came off of the cycle. Voronkov had a good high danger chance and the rebound got cycled back around to Jake Bean. He fired it inside, where Nylander tipped it then recovered his own rebound for his second goal of the night, and 10th of the season.

Third Period

After another good penalty kill early in the period, Colorado was able to get on the board. It’s frustrating that after such a great game that Tarasov’s shutout was ended by a weak goal.

With a two goal deficit, Colorado pulled the goalie fairly early, and the Jackets had a few attempts at the empty net that didn’t connect, both from Alexandre Texier to Sillinger. Finally a Texier shot from the goal line was tipped in by Sillinger in the crease.

Final Thoughts

Daniil Tarasov was masterful tonight. 46 saves, and 3.64 goals saved above expected. The penalty kill played well in front of him (especially cleaning up rebounds), but he still needed to step up and make big saves.

In addition to scoring the ENG, Cole Sillinger deserves a ton of credit for his defensive game tonight. His line with Texier and Marchenko got a heavy dose of the Nathan MacKinnon line, and they kept it in check. The shot attempt rates were pretty even, and the MacKinnon line got few high danger chances.

Since Alex Nylander made his Columbus debut (February 25): 17 games, 10 goals, 3 assists
In that same timeframe, William Nylander: 17 games, 9 goals, 8 assists

What’s especially impressive is who most of those goals have been scored against: 3 against Vegas, 2 against Colorado, and 1 each against Carolina and Edmonton. The Jackets are 5-1-1 when Nylander has a point.

(For the record, Emil Bemstrom scored his second goal as a Penguin tonight.)

Some of the Monsters were a bit more noticeable tonight. James Malatesta got to play the bumper role on the second power play unit, and Mikael Pyyhtia played a bit on the penalty kill (and had a nice shorthanded chance).

Up Next

The homestand continues on Thursday night against the New York Islanders, who won tonight and are just 3 points out of a playoff spot.