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What We Learned: CAR 5, CBJ 3

Blue Jackets' power play falters in Forsberg's season debut

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

This was just a weird game all around.

Before the game even began, the Blue Jackets were dealing with some significant shuffling of their lineup that started around lunch time. With Curtis McElhinney plucked off waivers by Toronto and Anton Forsberg called up, the latter was slated to share the net with Sergei Bobrovsky in what could be considered a prime opportunity.

Well, Bobrovsky got sick. Then Forsberg was told he was starting. Joonas Korpisalo was called up and arrived in time to serve as the backup goalie.

And minutes prior to the opening face-off, Matt Calvert fell ill and was scratched, sending Dalton Prout into the lineup and causing the lines to be shuffled at the last minute.

It never seemed to settle down for the Blue Jackets, who were a little disjointed throughout despite scoring the opening goal only 1:08 into the game. That goal belonged to Cam Atkinson, who secured his fourth straight 20-goal season on Jan. 10 - becoming the fourth Blue Jacket in team history to accomplish the feat.

"We had some chances in the third," coach John Tortorella said. "When we switched the lines, it really gave us some juice, but we couldn't score. I don't think we gave up much."

Video: CBJ@CAR: Atkinson scores his 20th goal on wraparound

Here's what we learned:

POWER (PLAY) OUTAGE: The Blue Jackets, owners of the NHL's No. 1 power play unit, faced the league's top penalty-killing unit tonight. The penalty killers won this round. Columbus had a handful of chances on the power play but failed to generate any sustained offense or momentum, and the Hurricanes proved to be a feisty bunch both on the entries and with pressure up the ice. It was tough sledding all night long for the Blue Jackets power play, which had a rare off night.

"Our power play has helped us win games because it's scored a lot of goals," Tortorella said. "We had 60-plus shot attempts (overall), especially in the third period, but our power play didn't work. We played much better in the third and had some chances, but that's where I thought (Cam) Ward played really well."

SEASON DEBUT: Forsberg was called up yesterday and joined the team for the flight to Raleigh, but didn't know he'd be starting this game until early in the morning. He took the game day skate with the team and prepared accordingly, but it was still an odd situation given how suddenly everything came together. Tortorella said he thought Forsberg handled himself well despite some periodic struggles, but also thought his teammates could've done a better job to pick him up with some offense.

"He made some really good saves but there were some struggles, also - but that's to be expected," Tortorella said. "That's a tough one. It's a good process for him."

Video: CBJ@CAR: Forsberg slides over to reject Nordstrom

Forsberg said he didn't think he was as sharp as he could've been; he admitted rebound control was an issue, but he shook off some nerves and got better later in the game.

"I feel like I let up a few too many rebounds, which is usually (a strength of) my game," Forsberg said. "That's something I've got to get better at."

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