The Jackets rolled into Calgary to play an emotional game last night, and did not disappoint. They gave the Flames everything they had, taking the game to overtime before eventually giving up the game winner mid-way through overtime.
While the end result might be disappointing, the way the team played the final 42 minutes of the game last night is encouraging. It’s the first 20 minutes that ultimately killed them.
Even though the game was just 1-0 after the first period, the Flames were dominant and kept the Jackets well on their heels for the entire frame. There were far too many turnovers to count in the period, and if not for Joonas Korpisalo, the game was well out of reach before the second even started.
The second did start in much the same way, with the Flames capitalizing off of a turnover before making it a 2-0 game just 1:32 in. But the Jackets, led by an energized Johnny Gaudreau, finally got their feet under them and made it a game.
First, Kirill Marchenko scores off of a nice feed from #13 to make it a one-goal game on the power-play, 9:04 into the second. Calgary would take another penalty just 9 seconds later as Nazem Kadri flipped the puck over the glass, giving the Jackets the chance to tie it up.
Gaudreau would take advantage again, making yet another excellent seam pass, this time to Patrik Laine, who overpowered Dan Vladar with a one-timer to tie the game at 2-2. This is the Gaudreau-Laine connection that we’ve been waiting for all season, finally coming to fruition:
But as they’ve done so often this season, the Jackets find a way to cough it right back up the other way. Nick Blankenburg tried to force the puck through two Flames behind the net, only to see it turned over and sent out front to Andrew Mangiapane, whose goal made it 3-2 heading into the third.
The Jackets kept buzzing, and 4:34 into the third, captain Boone Jenner scored on a 2-on-1, looking off Gaudreau before firing a shot off the post and in to tie the game. The teams would trade chances briefly, before the Flames eventually took over for much of the balance of the third period.
The Blue Jackets were able to hold on and get the game to overtime, but the Flames were clearly the better team for much of this one – and that carried over into the extra frame. Calgary controlled much of the play and out-shot the Jackets 4-1 in the OT period, eventually getting the game winner off the stick of Dylan Dube:
My main takeaway from this game, is that the Blue Jackets simply got out-classed by a more experienced team. The way the Flames played in the offensive zone was impressive, forcing turnovers and taking the chances that were given to them. They didn’t try to do too much, and were able to generate offense in a variety of ways because of their structured forecheck.
But the key moment here might not have even been a goal, or even possession time. It might have been the Mathieu Olivier fight against Milan Lucic in the second period. Coming a little more than a minute after the Jackets tied the game and had a lot of the momentum, that fight got the crowd – and the Flames – back into the emotion of the night, and turned the momentum back the other way.
Notably, after the fight, Olivier did not play again for the rest of the night. Joining him on the bench were Jack Roslovic and Emil Bemstrom – neither of whom played in the third period or overtime. It will be interesting to see if Liam Foudy draws back into the lineup to replace one of these three.
The Blue Jackets are now headed to Edmonton, where they’ll face off against Connor McDavid and the Oilers on Wednesday night. Puck drops at 9:30 for this one, and it’s a TNT exclusive. Let’s hope this one doesn’t play out like the last game the team played on TNT.