Blue Jackets end road trip with 3-1 loss to Seattle

Jan 29, 2023 - 5:52 AM
<a href=Columbus Blue Jackets v Seattle Kraken" src="" />
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

It’s the end of a long road trip to the Pacific Northwest, with the Columbus Blue Jackets visiting some old friends on the Seattle Kraken. (Still miss you forever, BJORKSTRAND)

Prior to the game, Gus Nyquist was placed on IR and Jake Christiansen was called up due to injuries to both Adam Boqvist and Nick Blankenburg. Depth forward Lane Pederson was claimed off waivers from Vancouver, but not cleared to play yet.

First Period

On the first shift, a Vladislav Gavrikov shot hit Johnny Gaudreau in the side, sending him to the bench in pain. He returned to the ice without missing a shift, but a shot after the first commercial break shows him on the bench still in a lot of discomfort. Losing the best player is good news for the tank fans, but I hate to see anyone get hurt. After the game he downplayed it, and clarified that the puck glanced off his elbow.

It was all Kraken from that point, and the first goal of the game came from Morgan Geekie after the fourth line couldn’t win a puck battle in the neutral zone. Decent positioning by the defense here, but Andrew Peeke maybe cheats over a bit too far into the middle. Geekie makes a nice snipe to the far top corner on Elvis Merzlikins’ blocker side.

The period ends with a scrum in front of the Columbus net, in which Erik Gudbranson cross-checks Geekie in the face, giving Seattle a power play to start the second.

Shots favored the Kraken 12-4, with shot attempts being 23-8. The Blue Jackets produced just 0.07 expected goals in the first 20 minutes. That’s really bad!

Second Period

The penalty was killed, but even at 5v5, Seattle continued to dominate possession. Things could have been way worse had Elvis not stopped a point blank shot from Ryan Donato (with a save assist from Andrew Peeke)

Near the halfway mark, they expanded their lead with a goal from our old friend Alexander Wennberg. The Kraken did a great job to cycle around behind the net and the Jackets defense lost track of the puck and where each attacking player was. Wennberg was able to skate right into the slot right between Gudbranson and Tim Berni, practically unnoticed.

When the Jackets finally got their first power play, naturally both teams had just one scoring chance. Cool!

Late in the period, the Jackets finally got on the board thanks to a snipe from Kent Johnson, off a nice feed from Jack Roslovic. That’s KJ’s 10th goal of the season. Give credit to Roslovic for a nice takeaway to start the play.

In the final minute, Sean Kuraly took a penalty, because that’s just what he does now?

Third Period

Early in the third period, with Seattle still on the PP, Wennberg tripped Peeke to make it 4v4, then the Jackets got 1:20 of power play time. Alas, just one shot on goal produced in the abbreviated power play.

The Kraken expanded their lead when Eeli Tolvanen intercepted a Berni clearing pass, then skated it in and sniped around Berni.

Tolvanen has eight goals in 15 games since being claimed on waivers from Nashville. What a great pickup for a team like Seattle that is looking to contend — and who is doing it with depth guys like that on every line who can score.

Brad Larsen shortened the bench at this point, with Liam Foudy and Mathieu Olivier stuck to the bench, and Eric Robinson getting fewer shifts. One line that is a bit of a head-scratcher is Cole Sillinger/Sean Kuraly/Kirill Marchenko, but that trio dominated possession (13-3 in shot attempts, in just 4:18). Johnson/Roslovic/Bemstrom also showed potential, and Laine/Jenner/Gaudreau was reunited.

The Jackets got some good lucks in the final 2:47 with the goalie pulled, but couldn’t get another past Phillip Grubauer. A Laine shot that hit the post came closest.

At 5v5, the Jackets were out-attempted 23-8 in each of the first two periods. In the third, they flipped it and had the edge, 21-9. Nice to see SOME response, but it was just too little, and way too late. They had 0.66 expected goals on eight attempts in the second, but just 0.77 on 21 attempts in the third.

Final thoughts

In all situations, the expected goals were 3.2-2.21, so Elvis basically did his job, but the Jackets didn’t create enough chances against Grubauer and shot poorly on the chances they got.

This is cool:

Less cool:

Props to equipment manager Jamie Healy for his 2000th pro game behind the bench. He’s been with the Jackets since day one. Even the Kraken honored him with an announcement during the game, which is a really classy gesture.

Boone Jenner now trails only Rick Nash for most games played as a Blue Jacket. Just 47 more games needed to break the record! Feels not that long ago that he was a rookie on the 2013-14 playoff team.

Not to be left out, former Blue Jacket Alexander Wennberg played in his 600th career game.

In Tank Watch 2023, Chicago also lost, so remain just a point ahead, but with three games in hand. At the time of publishing, Arizona (four points ahead of Columbus) and Anaheim (two points ahead of Columbus) were tied.

Up Next

The Jackets return home and host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, prior to the All Star break. Let’s hope they end on a good note, because they certainly can use the rest.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!