Live Blog: Can the Columbus Blue Jackets Pull One Off?

1 of 3

It’s almost game time, as the Columbus Blue Jackets prepare to take the ice in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. As you probably already know, the Jackets are desperately in need of a win tonight, as they are trying to avoid setting a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak.

But enough about that. The good news going in to today’s game is the return of Jack Johnson. Johnson has been out of commission for the past three games after being suspended for his hit on the Carolina Hurricanes’ Jiri Tlusty.

Another positive note is the imminent return of Sergei Bobrovsky. He made the trip with the team today, but will be sitting on the bench as backup for Curtis McElhinney tonight. Though he won’t get to play tonight’s game, the Jackets have sent Anton Forsberg back down to Srpingfield, so it seems likely that we’ll see Bob take the ice here shortly.

The major storyline for the game tonight (as we try to ignore the past 9 games) is the return of Scott Hartnell to his former team in Philly. This is the first time Hartnell has returned Philly to face his former team since being traded for R.J. Umberger this summer, which is even more motivation to win tonight.

Hartnell has been a solid player and constant presence for the Jackets this year, and it’s safe to say the Jackets clearly got the better of that trade. Hartnell has had 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points in 15 games this season with the Jackets, while the Flyers have only gotten 1 goal and 2 points in 14 games from Umberger. Hopefully Hartnell will have a great night tonight, and can help his team prevail over his former team in Philly tonight.

My players to watch: On the Flyers, I’ve gotta go with Jakub Voracek. He’s second in the league in scoring. The guy is hot. I’d love to have him back on the CBJ roster, but we’ll just have to watch him from the opposite side now, and hope the Jackets’ defense can shut him down tonight. On the Jackets, it’s gotta be Hartsy, for all the reasons listed above. He’s been a leading force on the Jackets, and it’s always fun to watch a guy return to his former team for the first time. Keep an eye on those two tonight, I’d expect them to be the ones who stand out as the game progresses.

Well, it’s almost gametime, and you know what to do! Go cheer them on, and come back often and keep refreshing the page throughout the game for in-game updates and reaction!

IT’S ON! The puck has been dropped! Go Jackets!

First Period

17:57 0-0

The entire first minute was spent in the Jackets’ defensive zone, and they returned the favor throughout the second minute. The teams traded offensive pressure, but shots remain at 0 on both sides.

15:00 0-0

We’ve gone five minutes into the game without a shot on goal for either side. Good and bad, I guess, but the Jackets need some more offensive pressure.

14:46 0-0

The Flyers get the first shot on goal of the game.

13:06 0-0

The Flyers get another great shot on goal, but Curtis McElhinney, in a flash of leather, robbed them of a goal with a great glove save. Hope his play continues like that all night! Shots are now 2 for Philly, 0 for CBJ. Need to get on that soon.

12:01 0-0

The Flyers are called for interference, giving the Jackets the first powerplay of the night, and the arena fills with boos.

11:37 1-0 Blue Jackets GOAL!

CBJ GOOOOOAL!!! James Wisniewski gets the puck off a beautiful pass from Ryan Johansen, and his quick slapshot found the back of the net, putting the Jackets on the board with 11 and a half to play. One shot, one goal! We’ll take it!

9:14 1-0

Umberger took a tumble while carrying the puck in the Jackets’ zone, and the boos resonated around the arena. They aren’t too happy with him. Gotta figure they’re measuring him against what they gave up in Hartnell. I, for one, don’t miss him too much.

7:51 1-0

Jared Boll called for holding, and the Jackets take their first penalty of the night. Now we’ll get to see how well the penalty kill units work tonight. Need to hold on to this lead…

7:00 1-1 Philadelphia Goal

Claude Giroux nets a power play goal to tie the game at one. The puck may or may not have been redirected off of Dalton Prout, so I can’t fault CMac too much for that one, but the penalty kill needs to be better. The Flyers pretty much controlled the puck for the entirety of their power play.

6:06 1-1

Boone Jenner and Wayne Simmonds wanted to go at it, but the refs broke it up before it became a full fight. It shows the tension between the two teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if we do see a full-fledged fight sometime soon; it’s been an intense, physical game, and both teams are fired up — perfect recipe for some fighting action. We’ll see.

3:19 1-1

Wiz had another great slapshot, and Mason just barely got the save. Shortly thereafter, Boone Jenner was pulled down, and the Flyers were assessed their second penalty of the night. Jackets…. On…. The….. Power Plaaaaay!

2:50 Jackets Power Play Goal!

GOOOOAAL! The Jackets return the favor and score a power play goal of their own, making it a 2-1 game. As the 1st period winds down, it’s 2-1 Jackets!

1:40 2-1

Ryan Johansen shows his tenacity as he tries to shove the puck home, even while laying on the ice, but this time he wasn’t rewarded. Good effort, though. The Jackets are outshooting the Flyers 9-5.

END OF FIRST PERIOD — Columbus Blue Jackets 2 – Philadelphia Flyers 1

First Period Thoughts: The Jackets look like a whole new team out there tonight. Jeff Rimer said it best — this is the best start to a game we’ve seen from them in a long time. The Jackets have outshot the Flyers 9-5 so far, managed to capitalize on the power play (at least one of them), and had sustained offensive pressure. It was good to see.

Although the penalty kill left a little to be desired, this game has a better feel than the last however many. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve given up after the first period lately, but tonight I haven’t (and it isn’t just the score). The Jackets don’t look like they’re chasing all night tonight. They don’t look lazy. Their passes are crisp. Their goalie is on top of it.

Yes, CMac has had a rough go of it lately. And he did let in one goal already. But he looks more confident tonight. He’s made some big saves that helped the Jackets hold on to the lead, and he’s been fun to watch. Maybe he’s getting more comfortable in net, or maybe it’s the threat of being replaced by Bob again soon, but something has got him going tonight, and I like what I’ve seen.

Hopefully the Jackets will continue to play their fast-paced, physical game for the next 40 minutes, because if they do I believe they have a very good chance of snapping this recent loss streak. Check out the next page for second period updates and reflection!