After months of anticipation, the Jackets finally dropped the puck on the 2013-14 season in front of a sold out Nationwide Arena. As could be expected from any home opener, the game started with high energy from both the CBJ and the Flames. The Jackets immediately put some pressure in the Calgary zone, but it was Calgary who put the first point on the board.
A puck was left out in front of the net and before the defense could react, Sean Monahan beat Bobrovsky for his first NHL goal. Calgary’s lead was short lived, as Jack Johnson scored on the power play on a cross ice feed from Marian Gaborik. Two minutes later the Flames took the lead back on a TJ Galiardi breakaway. After a rush of scoring both teams settled in and strong goalie play dominated the remainder of the period.
With 5 minutes remaining in the first period, Blake Comeau fed a puck into the Calgary zone and Gaborik and Dubinsky went to work in front of the net. Gaborik was credited with the goal. With the game tied 2-2 at the start of the second, the Jackets came out more cautious. They were unable to capitalize on the man advantage and took half of the PP to settle into the Calgary zone.
12 minutes into the third, the Flames made the most off a turnover by Comeau. Jiri Hudler was able to beat Bob high right. 42 seconds later, the CBJ left Curtis Glencross free in front of the net and he made it a two goal game. With minutes remaining in the game, an Artem Anisimov goal brought the Jackets back within one, but Calgary was able to hold out and finish the game 4-3.
Costly turnovers, opening night jitters, and poor play in the defensive zone got the best of the Jackets tonight. There was great play from Gaborik, Johnson, and Brandon Dubinsky. It appeared James Wisniewski was trying a little too hard and was covering for Ryan Murray early on. This may have contributed to some of his defensive errors.
Coach Todd Richards shuffled the lines throughout the game, trying to find some chemistry, however the team did seem out of their element. The Jackets need to put this one behind them and get ready to play the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum tomorrow night.