CBJ Update: February Fever
The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a busy remainder of January since I last blogged. The last time I blogged was after a victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. This blog will cover the games they won throughout the remainder of February; the All Star Game; and injury updates on the back front—as well as trade rumors.
CBJ Post Game No. 44--- Senssational
The Ottawa Senators held on to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets by the final score of 2-0 in Nationwide Arena.
Kyle Turris opened the scoring for his 16th goal of the season. Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot had the assists. Ryan Dzingel netted the second goal for his ninth of the season. Chris Wideman and Derrick Brassard supplied the helpers.
Mike Condon stopped all 42 shots faced. NHL All-Star netminder Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 of 28 shots.
CBJ Post Game No. 45—Raleighed Through Raleigh
The Columbus Blue Jackets held on to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes by the final score of 3-2 in regulation.
Columbus came out in the first period with two quick goals against the opposition. Finnish winger Markus Hannikanen scored his first career NHL goal with less than five minutes off the clock. Josh Anderson and William “Wild Bill” Karlsson earned assists on the play. Scott Hartnell extended his team’s lead for his 12th of the year. Dalton Prout and Scott Harrington got their firsts assists of the season. This has to feel awesome for both of them to produce as they have barely played at all this year as this team has been so healthy.
In the second period, the Hurricanes came back to tie the game with two quick goals. Finnish rookie Sebastian Aho potted a power play marker for his 12th of the season. Elias Lindholm and Brett Pesce got the assists. All-Star defenseman Justin Faulk evened the game with his ninth of the season. Mid-season acquisition Ty Rattie had the lone assist on the goal.
Scott Hartnell got another goal in the third period, which held out to be the eventual game-winner. His second goal of the night was his 13th of the season. Sam Gagner and Dalton Prout helped out with assists on the scoresheet.
Michael Leighton was the starter for the Hurricanes, and he stopped 17 of 20 shots for a 0.850 save percentage (85%). NHL All-Star Sergei Bobrovsky was in between the pipes for the Blue Jackets, and he stopped 35 of 37 shots for a 0.946 save percentage (94.6%).
CBJ Post-Game No. 46—Sloppy Hockey
The Columbus Blue Jackets fought back hard to defeat the Ottawa Senators by the final score of 7-6 in overtime. The game was very much an overall back and forth effort that started extremely early in the game.
Zack Smith opened the scoring with just 42 seconds into the game for his 10th goal of the season. Cody Ceci and Derrick Brassard had the assists.
Nick Foligno tied the game just 30 seconds later with his 16th goal of the year. Alex Wennberg and Sam Gagner had the assists.
Zack Smith answered back with another goal for his 11th of the year. Cody Ceci got another assist off the goal. Curtis Lazar got the secondary assist for his first assist of the year. For being a former first round pick, it’s surprising to see how his production has lacked in Ottawa.
Scott Harrington tied the for the second time tonight with his first career NHL goal. Congratulations to Scott. Alex Wennberg and Dalton Prout also got assists on the goal. Zach Werenski got Columbus their first lead of the game off a power play goal 56 seconds into the second period. The rookie defenseman’s goal was his seventh of the season. NHL All-Star Seth Jones got the primary assist. Alex Wennberg got his third assist of the night.
Mike Hoffman tied the game up the Senators with his 16th goal of the season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the lone assist on the goal. Mark Stone got Ottawa the 4-3 lead with his 16th goal of the season. Derrick Brassard and Zack Smith got the assists on the goal. Hoffman added his second of the game and of the period with his 17 seconds left in the second for his 17th of the season. Tom Pyatt and Jean-Gabriel Pageau got the assists.
The Blue Jackets came back with three unanswered goals in the third period. Lukas Sedlak scored with less than two minutes off the clock in the third for his sixth of the season. Scott Hartnell and Scott Harrington got the assists. 30 seconds later, Matt Calvert brought Columbus back to a tied score with his sixth of the season. NHL All-Star Seth Jones and William Karlsson had the assists on the goal. NHL All Star Cam Atkinson brought his team the lead in the game with his team leading 22nd goal of the season. Brandon Dubinsky had the lone assist.
Kyle Turris brought Ottawa back to a tied game with a power play marker for his 17th goal of the season. Dion Phaneuf and NHL All-Star and captain Erik Karlsson got the assists on the goal.
In overtime, Cam Atkinson netted the game winning goal just a minute in for his 23rd goal of the year. The goal was unassisted.
Joonas Korpisalo stopped 28 of 34 shots for a 0.824 save percentage (82.4%).
Mike Condon stopped 22 of 29 shots for a 0.759 save percentage (75.9%).
CBJ Post-Game No. 47—Weight’s Winning Ways
The New York Islanders continued their hot streak with new head coach Doug Weight in a 4-2 regulation victory of Columbus.
Nick Foligno opened the scoring with his 17th goal of the season. Alex Wennberg and Ryan Murray had the assists on the goal.
The Islanders scored four unanswered goals in the second and third periods. Josh Bailey brought the game to a tie score for his seventh goal of the season. Islanders’ All-Star representative John Tavares had the lone assist. Nikolay Kulemin got his team ahead with his eighth goal of the season. John Tavares and Calvin de Haan had the assists. Brock Nelson scored 35 seconds into the third with his 10th of the season. Nick Leddy and Adam Pelech had the assists. Former Columbus Blue Jacket—Jason Chimera—scored his tenth goal of the season to make it 4-1; the goal was unassisted.
Cam Atkinson brought Columbus to within two goals, even though it was too late. Atkinson’s unassisted goal was his 24th of the season.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 20 of 24 shots for a 0.833 save percentage (83.3%). Joonas Korpisalo came into relieve Bobs, and he stopped all five shots faced.
Thomas Greiss stopped 21 of 23 shots for a 0.913 save percentage (91.3%).
CBJ Post-Game No. 48—Music City Magic
The Nashville Predators held on to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the absence of head coach John Tortorella by the final score of 4-3 in regulation.
Brandon Saad opened the scoring midway through the opening period with his 16th goal of the season. All-Star defenseman Seth Jones and captain Nick Foligno added the assists to the goal.
The Predators scored three unanswered goals to get a two goal lead over Columbus. Calle Jarnkrok tied the game at one a piece with a power play goal. Jarnkrok’s goal was his seventh of the season. Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher had the assists. Harry Zolnierczyk got his team ahead with a one goal lead for his first of the season. Colton Sissons and Cody McLeod got the assists. Craig Smith added to his team’s lead with his eighth of the season. Mattais Ekholm and P.K. Subban had the assists on the goal.
Zach Werenski brought his team within one with his eighth goal of the season. Werenski’s goal was his eighth goal of the season. Brandon Dubinsky and former Predator Seth Jones had the assists.
Craig Smith scored his second goal of the night for his ninth goal of the season. Mattais Ekholm and Mike Fisher had the assists.
Ryan Murray brought Columbus back to his team back to another one goal defecit for his first goal of the season. Zach Werenski and William Karlsson had the assists.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 28 of 32 for a 0.875 save percentage (87.5%).
Pekka Rinne stopped 30 of 33 for a 0.909 save percentage (90.9%).
CBJ Post-Game No. 49—Close Call
The Columbus Blue Jackets held on to defeat the New York Rangers by the final score of 6-4.
The Jackets came out strong with six unanswered goals. Seth Jones opened the scoring in the first period with his eighth goal of the season. William Karlsson had the lone assist. Brandon Saad made it 2-0 with his 17th goal of the season. Alex Wennberg and Jack Johnson had the assists. Wennberg added a goal for his ninth of the season. Ryan Murray and Zach Werenski had the assists. Jones added his second of the game for his ninth of the season. Scott Hartnell and Sam Gagner had the assists. Nick Foligno scored to make it a 5-0 Columbus lead for his 18th of the season. Alex Wennberg and Brandon Saad had the assists. Matt Calvert scored to make it 6-0 for his seventh goal of the season. Zach Werenski and Josh Anderson had the assists.
The Rangers brought a comeback effort with four goals late in the game. Harvard graduate Jimmy Vessey netted his 12th of the season. Former Blue Jacket Rick Nash had the lone assist. Michael Grabner scored his 22nd of the season to bring his team within four. Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller had the assists. Chris Kreider brought the Blueshirts into a three goal defecit with his 19th goal of the season. Mika Zibanejad had the lone assist. Kevin Klein brought his team back with his first of the season. Nick Holden and Derek Stepan had the assists.
Joonas Korpisalo stopped 33 of 37 shots with a 0.892 save percentage (89.2%).
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 13 of 16 shots faced for a 0.813 save percentage (81.3%). Antti Raanta stopped seven of ten with a 0.700 save percentage (70%).
Rumor du Jour + News
Let’s starting with the boring stuff—the Jackets are still without their same two defensemen that went down prior to the All Star Break in David Savard and Markus Nutivarra. Also, former Blue Jackets head coach—Ken Hitchock—was fired by the St. Louis Blues; and goalie coach Jim Corsi was also fired. The Blues promoted Mike Yeo, former Minnesota Wild head coach, from associate coach to head coach. The Blues also have former Blue Jacket—Ty Conklin—and assistant general manager, Martin Brouder, sharing the goalie coach role.
Onto the rumors.
There has been murmurs of Martin Hanzal being a potential fit as a third line center with Columbus. Hanzal would add size with his 6’ 5” frame and secondary scoring, but the asking price is inexplicably high for a rental. Washington and Montreal are heavily linked to him too.
Cody Franson’s name has been out there as a rental too. Probably as a seventh defenseman for a playoff team. Columbus has interest in him per Eklund, which wouldn’t make sense as the Jackets have extra defensemen already on their roster. Edmonton seems to be the favorite. Don’t be surpised if another team gets in to barring injuries.
Thomas Vanek may be on the outs in Detroit as they may not make the playoffs for the first time in 26 seasons. Eklund hears Columbus might be interested in him. Same with Chicago and Los Angeles. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tampa gets in for a push.
Eklund also reports of interest in Colorado center Matt Duchene and defenseman Francois Beauchmin. Intersting but highly doubtful as Columbus is satisfied with the pieces they got all over, plus their prospects will be great too.
On the NHL All-Star Weekend
The All-Star weekend was held in Los Angeles, California this past weekend. The Blue Jackets had three NHL All Stars: Cam Atkinson, Seth Jones, and Sergei Bobrovsky. If John Tortorella did not stay home with to take care of his ailing dog, then the team would have had four All Stars. With Torts not attending, the “Great One” was the head coach of the Metropolitan Division, and won the tournament. The Metro defeated the Atlantic by the final score of 10-6. The Pacific dominated the Central by the final score of 10-3. The Metro defeated the Pacific in the final tournament by the final score of 4-3. Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers was named MVP.
CBJ Game No 50—Columbus Blue Jackets @ Pittsburgh Penguins
The Blue Jackets are back in action tonight taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the PPG Paints Arena. This is the first game of a back to back for the Jackets as they take on the New Jersey Devils tomorrow in Nationwide Arena.
Tonight is the second matchup between the Penguins and the Jackets this season. They first played each other in the middle of the Jackets’ 16 game winning streak. The final score of the game was 7-1. Going alongside the theme of stats and player comparisons, let’s work with the primary stats. Cam Atkinson leads the Jackets in goals with 24 versus Sidney Crosby’s 28 for the Penguins. Alex Wennberg leads the Jackets in assists with 34 in contrast to Phil Kessel’s 32 with Pittsburgh. The injured David Savard leads Columbus in plus/minus with a +19; Justin Schultz with Pittsburgh has a +28. Comparing the projected starting netminders tonight, Sergei Bobrovsky has a 28-9-2 record with a 2.10 goals against and a 0.929 save percentage. Matt Murray has a 18-6-1 record with a 2.41 goals against and a 0.922 save percentage.
Diving even further, the Jackets are third in goals per game with 3.35 goals per game; Pittsburgh is first with 3.55 goals per game. The Jackets are surprisingly fifth in goals against with 2.39 goals against; Pittsburgh is 22nd with 2.90 goals per game. The Jackets still remain first in the power play with 24.6%. The Penguins are fourth on the power play with 22.9%. The Jackets are seventh on the power play with 83.3%. The Penguins are 24th on the penalty kill with a 78.6%.
What does all of this mean? This goes to show the dominance of the Metropolitian Division this season, as they have all been dominant. They can score and defend, and have stellar goaltending. Special teams have been great for both teams in scoring too, as both are in the top five.
However, both teams are currently facing injuries. The Jackets are still without Markus Nutivarra and David Savard. Both are still listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. Pittsburgh gets Matt Cullen back tonight, after missing the past 16 games with a foot injury; however, Connor Sheary is now out of the lineup with an upper-body injury. Evgeni Malkin is still down with an injury that prevented him from going to the All-Star Game. Also, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang were not at the optional morning skate this morning.
Here are the projected lineups for tonight:
Matt Cullen – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Jake Guentzel – Nick Bonino – Phil Kessel
Carl Hagelin – Carter Rowney – Bryan Rust
Chris Kuntiz – Eric Fehr – Scott Wilson
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Oli Maatta – Trevor Daley
Ian Cole – Justin Schultz
Scratched: Tom Kuhnhackl, Chad Ruhwedel,
Injured: Evgeni Malkin, Connor Sheary
Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon Saad – Alex Wennberg – Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner – Brandon Dubinsky – Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert – William Karlsson – Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell – Lukas Sedlak – Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Ryan Murray – Jack Johnson
Scott Harrington – Dalton Prout
Scratched: Markus Hannikanen
Injuries: David Clarkson, David Savard, Markus Nutivarra
Players to Watch
Pittsburgh: Chris Kunitz: In 43 games, the veteran winger had 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists). He is now on the fourth line after playing with Crosby. His game has been on the decline, but his overall stats look so much better since he played with Sid the Kid for so long.
Columbus: Scott Harrington. The former Penguins prospect scored his first career NHL goal recently, and had had four points in nine games recently. The young defenseman now plays a bottom pairing role on a different team in contrast to the team that drafted him, but he’s now succeeding in the right place.
Enjoy the games tonight…
More to come….
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