Game 9 Recap: Jackets Finally in the Win Column
Time to start a new streak - the Jackets' horrific eight-game losing streak to start the season is over after a win over the Avalanche in Denver.
With Ryan Johansen out with an illness, the Jackets traveled to Denver to take on the Avalanche, looking to snap their eight-game losing streak. John Tortorella turned to Sergei Bobrovsky in net, opposite of Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
After a slight delay while the Avs honored members of the former Colorado Rockies franchise and debuted their gorgeous new third sweaters, the first period kicked off with fireworks between Brandon Dubinsky and Nathan MacKinnon in the opening faceoff circle. The two jawed and jabbed at each other, before MacKinnon was tossed from the faceoff.
Just 2:21 into the game the Jackets found themselves down a goal, when former teammate Jack Skille displayed his patented fly-down-the-wing-and-unleash-a-hard-wrister-for-a-goal move we saw a number of times during his time with the CBJ. Bob was beaten over his far shoulder, but full credit to Skille.
David Clarkson, seeing an opportunity to boost his comrade's spirits, drew Cody McLeod into a scrap a few minutes later. Clarkson won't have to drop the mitts all the time, but it's great to see him doing things to spark his team outside of goal scoring. I have a feeling that with continued work he'll manage to pot a few by the time it's all said and done. The contract will always stink, but we have to take any positive impact he provides and run with it.
Midway through the first period, after Nick Holden (another former Jacket) misplayed the puck at the Columbus blueline, Boone Jenner gathered it and darted up the left wing, wiring a shot past Varlamov to tie the game. Boone has been a bright spot on the season thus far, without a doubt.
The goal gave the Jackets life. Playing like the desperate team they are, the Jackets pushed hard for the go-ahead goal, and with 4:19 left they were rewarded. With Mikhail Grigorenko in the box for hooking, David Savard took a shot from the right faceoff dot, with the puck redirecting off of Boone for his second goal of the game and team-leading fifth of the season. Bobrovsky had a nice kick-save at the end of the period to hold the lead going into intermission.
It only took the Avs 1:43 to tie the game once the second period began. Fedor Tyutin got caught pinching in the offensive zone, and Matt Duchene gathered the puck and fired it up to Blake Comeau at center ice. Comeau laid the puck off to Jarome Iginla, who then snapped the puck through Bobrovsky's five hole to tie the game. Bob had plenty of time to set for the shot. Not a nice goal to give up, but the Jackets didn't fold.
Cody Goloubef was sent to the box midway through the second period after a bonehead delay of the game penalty, when he intentionally dislodged the net. With experience, he'll learn to be more discreet when pulling this move off. The Avs were unable to convert on the subsequent powerplay.
At the 15:27 mark, Tyutin was called for a hook on Gabriel Landeskog, which may have saved a goal. Unfortunately for the Jackets however, seconds into the powerplay Jenner was given a cheesy holding penalty. In what seemed like a makeup call, on the next faceoff Landeskog was sent to the box for interfering with Dubinsky after the faceoff.
With the teams playing four-on-three, the Avs pressed hard for the go-ahead, and did so when Iginla sent a cross-ice pass to MacKinnon for the goal. Bob's body language didn't look great, but he managed to lock things down for the remainder of the period.
The Jackets were unable to take advantage of a powerplay early in the third period, but at the 3:56 mark they tied the game. With the fourth line causing trouble in front of Varlamov, a loose puck landed on the stick of Ryan Murray, who had crept in from the point. Murray flipped the puck into the net, and the game was knotted at three.
This goal gave the Jackets the momentum they needed. Minutes after the Murray goal, the Jackets took the lead for good, with Dubinsky potting the rebound after a David Savard point shot. For the first time all season, the team looked confident.
The Jackets had back-to-back powerplays late in the third, and were unsuccessful in both. The second powerplay was a real adventure though, with the Avs dictating play shorthanded. Murray was sent to the box for slashing in the final minute, putting the teams four-on-four.
The Avs then pulled Varlamov, and with the man advantage they pulled out all the stops to tie the game, but came up short.
The Jackets held on to earn their first win of the season.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Jackets