The Columbus Blue Jackets started this game setting a fast pace. While they were speedy, they were also a little inconsistent. One moment, they were making snappy passing plays around the defense; the next, they were turning over the puck and being caught out of position.
The game’s first goal was made 2:50 into the period by Yegor Chinakhov to put Columbus up by one. The puck made an odd bounce off of the ref and right back to Chinakhov, where he slid it past Calgary Flame’s goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Zach Werenski made his return from injury noticeable early with an assist on the goal. Six and a half minutes later, the Jackets would turn the puck over, and Calgary’s MacKenzie Weegar would capitalize to make it 1-1.
Not long after that, the Blue Jackets would answer again after an error from Flame’s goaltender Jacob Markstrom. The Calgary netminder had the puck behind the net, and due to pressure, he sent the puck up his left-side boards. Fortunately for Columbus, Damon Severson was there to settle the puck and take a quick wrist shot, making it past Markstrom, who was still settling back into position.
Calgary was not done yet. Rookie Connor Zary would tally his 9th goal of the season off of a rebound. Jacket’s goaltender Daniil Tarasov slid into place to get the first block but was not able to get to the second shot.
This period started strong for the young Blue Jackets, and there was more consistency with connecting passes and keeping the puck. After some back-and-forth action from both teams, at 5:21 into the period, the game’s first penalty was assessed to Damon Severson for high sticking. The Columbus defensemen caught Calgary’s Jonathan Huberdeau in the face while turning around near the Blue Jacket’s goal crease. Unfortunately for the Flames, their power play did not go their way, as they were having a hard time maintaining possession of the puck. After a turnover, Blue Jacket’s forward Alexander Texier was able to find the back of the net after a shot from Sean Kuraly rebounded off of the post, putting Columbus up 3-2. This was the Jacket’s first short-handed goal of the season.
Later in the period, A.J. Greer was given a penalty for tripping against Blue Jacket’s Jake Bean. Greer seemed to be injured as he had to be helped by teammates off of the ice and down the tunnel to the locker rooms. The Blue Jackets were not able to capitalize on the power play.
Six minutes later, the Flames would be headed back to the penalty box. Jacket’s Johnny Gaudreau would attempt to take the puck up the ice, weaving in and out of the Calgary defense. During this display of skill, MacKenzie Weegar would be called for hooking, giving the Blue Jackets another power play. One thing that may have inspired Johnny Hockey’s drive to the net was the Calgary fans heckling him all game. A former Calgary Flame, every time Gaudreau would touch the puck, the home fans made sure to let him know how they felt about him leaving after the 2022 season. The Blue Jackets were unable to score on the powerplay, and the period ended seconds later.
Shortly into the final period, the Calgary Flames would get a power play when Blue Jacket’s Jack Roslovic was called for tripping against Matt Coronato. Columbus was able to kill off the penalty. While there was a lot of puck movement up and down the ice, events turned worrisome when a puck was launched into the Blue Jacket’s bench. Defensemen Adam Boqvist was struck and had to head toward the locker rooms to get treatment.
Shortly after that, Flame’s Jonathan Huberdeau got a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct for boarding against Jack Roslovic. Roslovic would also have to head off the ice for repairs as he was bleeding heavily from his forehead.
During the power play, Columbus would see plenty of chances on the net to start. Calgary also got a chance during a short-handed rush but was unable to get one past Tarasov. During the power play, some confusion among the referees about the game time led to a short break on the ice. Immediately off of the draw, the Blue Jackets would send one into the net when Damon Severson passed the puck to Adam Fantilli, who attempted a quick slapshot, and although the shot was blocked, Dimitri Voronkov was there to clean it up to make it 4-2 Blue Jackets. Because of the major penalty the power play would resume but Calgary would kill it off.
The Flames would pull their goalkeeper in the final minutes in an attempt to score quickly with an extra skater. Despite some close calls, they were unable to capitalize. Columbus would receive a turnover, and Adam Fantilli would take a long shot for an empty net goal, making the score 5-2 and sealing the win for the Blue Jackets.
A Few Takeaways
The Blue Jackets were able to adjust well on the fly. Although there were inconsistencies early, they were able to gain some strength as the game went on. Their passing improved, as well as their number of shots on goal. In the first period, shots were 9-18, with Calgary having double the shots on goal that Columbus did. Shots improved for the Blue Jackets to 11-4 in the second and 12-8 in the third. Getting a goal and holding a team to 4 shots on goal might just be one of the best periods Columbus has played this season.
The Jackets are tough and getting tougher. While there were some unfortunate injuries in this game, they showed they can rally behind their players and keep the pace high. The third period has not been kind to the Blue Jackets this season, but they have been showing improvement lately. This game helped showcase some of their development so far.
Daniil Tarasov is back and better than ever. While he maybe took a little time to get back to an NHL pace the netminder is showing promise of what is yet to come. The rest of the Blue Jackets team helped out a lot as well with limiting their penalties as well as limiting shots on their own goal.
The Columbus Blue Jackets next game is against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 10:00 pm EST.