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Game #82 Recap: Jackets win their season finale

Apr 16, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The last game of the season before what’s sure to be a busy off-season. The Canes sat most of their top players, and the Blue Jackets had NHL debuts in both Gavin Brindley and Luca Del Bel Belluz.

Tonight marked Jeff Rimer’s last night in the broadcast booth. He’s been the TV voice of the Blue Jackets for nearly two decades. Many of us don’t remember games without him. Before the game, he had the privilege of delivering the starting lineup in the locker room.

1st Period

The Canes got a power play less than 90 seconds into the game. The Jackets were booked for too many men. Greaves fought off six shots, and the penalty was killed.

After the penalty, Luca Del Bel Belluz skated out of the box. He got the puck while rushing down the left side. He took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle and scored his first NHL goal.

CBJ Goal 1-0: Del Bel Belluz (Pyyhtia, Werenski) 3:37

Not long after, Werenski gathered a rebound from a Marchenko shot and put it in a wide-open net. It was a fast start for the Jackets.

CBJ Goal 2-0: Werenski (Marchenko, Texier) 5:24

The Canes cut the lead when Kotkaniemi got behind the defense. Jiricek couldn’t gather a pass in his own zone and then went chasing the puck, but Kuraly didn’t cover for him. Comtois found the wide-open Cane, and a nifty move got the puck past Greaves.

CAR Goal 2-1: Kotkaniemi (Comtois, Noesen) 7:10

Del Bel Belluz got high-sticked, giving the Jackets a power play. Luca nearly scored his second goal of the game off a deflection while getting whacked in the face. The Canes killed off the penalty without much trouble.

With less than two minutes left, the Canes managed to tie the game. A passing play between three Canes while entering the zone found Teravainen unchecked in the slot, and a nice shot went where Greaves had no chance to make the save.

CAR Goal 2-2: Teravainen (Kotkaniemi, Burns) 18:16

But wait, there’s more! Off a faceoff, Olivier drove toward the net and sent a between-the-legs pass to Malatesta, who scored his second NHL goal.

CBJ Goal 3-2: Malatesta (Olivier, Kuraly) 19:01

The kids were noticeable in the first period! Shots and shot attempts were pretty even in the first period, though shot quality favored the Canes.

2nd Period

Fast went hard into the boards at the beginning of the second, and Gudbranson went to the box for cross-checking. Vincent and the crowd did not like the call. Luckily, the Jackets were able to kill off the penalty.

Malatesta drew a tripping penalty to give the Jackets their second man advantage of the night. But again, the home team did not get much going.

Jiricek got called for holding while defending a breakaway. It was an odd call, as he was battling with the puck carrier. If Burns, Pesce, or even Werenski make the same play, I doubt that gets called. Unfortunately, the Canes scored on the power play. Teravainen sent a shot off the post and in.

CAR PP Goal 3-3: Teravainen (Burns) 10:16

The Jackets got one back with the top line. Gaudreau was able to put home a wraparound.

CBJ Goal 4-3: Gaudreau (Werenski, Danforth) 12:18

Both teams were able to produce extended offensive pressure before the end of the period, and the game remained very even possession-wise.

3rd Period

It took less than a minute for another goal. Gudbranson launched a long shot that bounced off the back of the boards. The puck found Nylander’s stick on the opposite side, and the best Nylander was able to put it home from a sharp angle.

CBJ Goal 5-3: Nylander (Gudbranson, Provorov) 0:47

Shortly after the goal, Sillinger went to the box for tripping. Greaves once again had to make several saves while a man down.

Just before the first commercial break, the puck got past Greaves and sat on the goal line. A few tense seconds went by before he reached back to cover it up.

With 3:41 left, Severson went off for tripping. Greaves was once again the star of the penalty kill. The Canes managed 16 shots on 5 power plays.

Werenski needed one more point to tie Seth Jones for most points in a season by a defenseman. With less than a minute left, he put one past Martin off the rush.

CBJ Goal 6-3: Werenski (Olivier, Gudbranson) 19:21

That’s it, folks! The Jackets win their season finale.

Team Leaders

Goals: Werenski (2)
Points: Werenski (4)
5v5 CF%: Gaudreau (70.37)
5v5 xGF%: Gaudreau (75.88)
5v5 shots: Danforth (4)
5v5 shot attempts: Werenski, Nylander (5)

Final Thoughts

It was nice to see a fun win to cap off a tough season, especially on Rimer’s last broadcast. The kids contributed, and Werenski showed that he can be an elite defenseman.

Brindley didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he wasn’t invisible. He looked like a speedster out there and involved himself both offensively and defensively. A crowded forward group likely means he’ll start next season in Cleveland, but don’t rule him out at training camp.

Jiricek, Blankenburg, Pyyhtia, Gaunce, Del Bel Belluz, Malatesta, and Meyer will all make their way back to Cleveland, where they hope to make a deep playoff run.

Up Next

Keep checking out The Cannon for player reviews, draft profiles, and coverage of all things off-season.