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Game #9 Recap: A Balanced Effort Wins the Day

The Columbus Blue Jackets reversed their fortunes on Thursday night, following up consecutive 4-1 losses with a 7-4 victory over the host St. Louis Blues

There were multiple changes to the lineups, so this recap will take a look at how each lineup and pairing did.

Nick Foligno/Boone Jenner/Josh Anderson

This line generated the most pregame discussion. This was a line with no true center (Jenner took the bulk of the faceoffs, for this line, winning 10/18). Torts seemed to be emphasizing physical play over, you know, actually scoring goals.

This line started the game and immediately gained an offensive possession. The second possession did not go as well, as Josh Anderson got called for slashing (a bit of a borderline call, given that he was caught in a scrum in front of the Blues net) and then a roughing penalty for scuffling with Colton Parayko. That power play resulted in the first St. Louis goal.

A few minutes later, on the first Columbus power play, Foligno killed it by taking an interference penalty.

The line’s best moment came early in the fourth minute of the second period with the game tied at 2. David Savard chipped the puck down the ice from the defensive zone, and Anderson used his speed to chase it down. A backhand pass found a trailing Foligno, who turned and set up Jenner for the goal. As elpalito pointed out in the game thread, while this line was meant to bring “grit,” the goal was a result of skilled play by all three forwards.

Anthony Duclair/Alexander Wennberg/Oliver BJORKSTRAND

This line also had an early mistake. After a nice play to gain possession in the defensive zone, BJORKSTRAND opted to carry the puck out rather than pass it forward. Instead he got his pocket picked in the middle of the zone. Markus Nutivaara was the only Jacket left to defend and he got turned inside out. Joonas Korpisalo was a sitting duck against Jaden Schwartz’s one-timer and the Jackets were down 2-0.

Fortunately BJORKSTRAND redeemed himself at the start of the second to tie the game. After a pass from Scott Harrington of all people, BJORKSTRAND fired on goal. Anthony Duclair was camped behind the goal and was able to send home the deflection off Jake Allen’s pads for the first of this two goals.

This was that second Duclair goal, on a third period power play:

Artemi Panarin/Pierre-Luc Dubois/Cam Atkinson

The Jackets held a one goal lead to start the third period, and in the first minute the PBJ line was reunited briefly and it resulted in another perfect pass from Panarin:

Panarin also set up Seth Jones, for his third assist of the night:

Lukas Sedlak/Riley Nash/Markus Hannikainen

I get putting Hannikainen in the lineup. It’s game 9 and he should play at some point. But why keep Sedlak in the lineup just to play him at the wing? Limiting Sonny Milano’s minutes is one thing, but a scratch is uncalled for.

This line was OK. Not great, not bad. They were the only Columbus skaters not on the ice for a goal for any goals for. All played over 11 minutes, which was more than what BJORKSTRAND got (10:16). That’s another harsh burn against Milano, Torts.

Scott Harrington/David Savard

Savard got a goal! This was the fourth straight unanswered goal for Columbus and it chased Allen from the game.

Hott Scarrington had 2 assists! I can’t believe it. I still think it was a mistake to play Harrington over Dean Kukan, but credit to him for making the most of his opportunity tonight.

Defensive ice time was more balanced tonight, from Harrington at 15:33 to Seth Jones at 22:37. Boone Jenner played 21:19 played more than every defender except Jones.

Joonas Korpisalo

Another great game from the backup, who goes to 3-0 on the year. He hadn’t played in two weeks since the Florida game, but showed that he should be playing even more often than that. He gave up 4 goals, yes, but the first two were forgivable. The first was a weird angle power play goal, and the second was the aforementioned BJORKSTRAND turnover. The last two were on the soft side, and if we’ve ripped on Sergei Bobrovsky for that, then we should call Korpi out for them too. Thankfully the offense was so on fire it didn’t matter.

I expect Bob to start at home on Saturday, but maybe it should be Korpi instead? Should we ride the hotter hand in goal?

Final Thoughts

The power play is fixed! Maybe. 2 for 4 on the night. Both from the second unit. The Duclair goal is posted above, but I need to point out how great Ryan Murray was on the first CBJ goal of the game. He gained possession in the neutral zone in the waning seconds of the power play. He appeared to be passing to Duclair as he crossed the blue line, but instead he passed off the boards to himself. He then passed backwards past Wennberg through to Jenner.

This team finally did a better job of taking shots from around the crease, and it paid off:

  • The Blue Jackets return home to host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night. These aren’t your minutes-older twin’s Sabres, as they are 6-4-0 to start the season./