Quick Thoughts: Blues 3, Blue Jackets 1

The Blues overpowered the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, pulling away for a 3-1 win.

First Period

- Big pregame news (besides Brandon Dubinsky’s one-game suspension) was that Markus Hannikainen would make his NHL debut tonight. That’s neat.

- Matt Calvert created the game's first solid chance, speeding in on Jake Allen to no avail. The Blues came back with one of their own on the other end, with neither goal for either team. Only four faceoffs through the first nine minutes and a lot of end-to-end action.

- Ryan Murray left the ice midway through frame after taking something off the face. Seems to be a trend with the Blue Jackets as of late.

- Sergei Bobrovsky caught a close shot from Steen with eight minutes to go. Sneakily scary play and good to see from Bob early on.

- Not much for the Jackets until BOOOOOONE Ryan Johansen forced in a David Savard bank off the back boards for a goal out of nowhere with 5:14 left in the period. Joey's sixth goal of the season and Savard’s 11th assist. Excellent play by Savard to throw it back there and good for Joey getting on the board. The previous five minutes or so took place in the CBJ end and the Jackets made the most of that infrequent trip to the St. Louis zone. We’ll let the wonderful @myregularface take the honors:

- Cam Atkinson tested Allen in close in the final minute, no go though. 1-0 Jackets lead after one period with six shots apiece and zero penalties. Fairly even frame and a good road start.

Second Period

- Boone Jenner’s stick caught Vladimir Tarasenko’s skate blade for a two-minute minor just 24 seconds into the period. Bob made a few saves—not sure the puck even left the zone—before Tarasenko snapped one past him from the left dot with 15 seconds left on the PP. 1-1 game.

- Things didn’t get too much better after the penalty, but the Jackets went back on the PP after Jay Bouwmeester slashed Boone Jenner at the 4:43 mark. Two shots on the PP and a scuffle occurred in front of the benches thanks to Scott Hartnell knocking Alex Pietrangelo’s stick out of his hands, which apparently he planned to leave hanging over the ice indefinitely.


- St. Louis began to pull away here on the shot count, pinning the CBJ in their own end. The visitors called on Bob several times to keep the score tied…which he did, time and time again.

- Not too much to talk about until Scott Hartnell held Carl Gunnarsson with 4:02 left in the period…and then Gregory Campbell shot the puck over the glass for 1:13 of 5-on-3 time. Jackets killed the first one—despite a couple of dangerous chances, including David Backes waltzing down Main Street—and Columbus kept the Blues from cashing in on the second. Nervy moments and the Jackets stood tall.

- 1-1 through two periods despite the Blues outshooting the Blue Jackets 18-8 in the second.

Third Period

- Huge stop from Bob on Jori Lehtera from the high slot five minutes into the third. Lehtera had time to collect himself for a heavy wrister, but Bob stayed deep and put his body in front of it.

- Two minutes later, Scottie Upshall made it 2-1 in favor of the Blues. The former Jacket held the puck coming across the zone, finally firing high off the crossbar for a St. Louis lead.

- Seconds after that, Allen robs Brandon Saad off the rush. Momentum firmly behind the home side at this point. To the Jackets’ credit, Columbus turned up the heat on offense (they sorta had to, but still) and sustain some pressure in the St. Louis end.

- From there, St. Louis never let the Jackets find time or space. Columbus pulled Bob with 1:20 to go and called a timeout during a stoppage a few seconds later. Alex Steen would score with :54 seconds to go and that’s all she wrote. 3-1 Blues.

Quick Thoughts

- Did you know the Blue Jackets play 18 back-to-back games this year, the most in the NHL? You have to think that last night’s excitement probably took quite a bit out of Columbus, especially facing a tough Central Division team like the Blues. That said, the Jackets battled back when faced with a deficit and didn’t look visibly fatigued in the third—just unable to generate any offense.

- More to that: Columbus missed Brandon Dubinsky. Sort of a "What are you gonna do?" situation tonight, sure, but it's obvious when he's not out there.

- Shame that Markus Hannikainen left the game for good with an injury. The broadcast team mentioned how his family was up at 3 a.m in Finland watching his NHL debut.

- Not enough. Think that’s all that this came down to. At least the Blue Jackets refrained from the boneheaded penalties (zero for either team in the third) that the team has pulled out a few times this season. Bob made 29 saves and played a relatively solid game.

- Matt Calvert stood out. No. 11 logged 19:17 of ice time, highest among forwards, and pushed the puck and pace all night long. He’s really shone in the last handful of games.

- Next up: Tuesday on the road in Montreal for a 7:30 p.m. start.

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