With legs heavy from four straight days of skating, the Blue Jackets took to the ice for their first preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Exhibition games are interesting. This early, there's not a lot of systems yet in place, just the basic outlines of a forecheck and a backcheck. And players are playing for the first time in line combinations. So, you see a more freeform style of play.
The Jackets had the offensive edge early, leading six shots to none. But then Zach Werenski was called for interference. A slash and a faceoff violation were also called on the Jackets within two minutes, resulting in a total of 4:10 of time for the Blackhawks to play with the man advantage.
During the second span of five-on-three play in that extended power play, Nick Schmaltz launched a pass across the top of the circles to Cody Franson whose shot got between Joonas Korpisalo and the post to make it 1-0.
Just 58 seconds into the middle frame, Laurent Dauphin doubled Chicago's lead when he set up net front and got the puck from Tomas Jurco and slid it under Korpisalo to make it 2-0.
Play went back and forth until the 12th minute of the second.
Korpisalo stopped a flurry of shots, lost his stick, and grabbed a replacement from a skater before having a puck flip over and past him to make it 3-0. Then, just 38 seconds later, Schmaltz sniped the puck past Korpisalo from the right circle. With 2:40 remaining in the period, Vinnie Hinostroza made it 5-0.
In the third, Seth Jones ended former Jacket Anton's Forsberg's shutout bid. He hammered home a rebound from the right circle to make it 5-1 at 5:52 into the third period.
Video: CHI@CBJ: Jones one-times a goal through the five-hole
Jones came back with another score late in the third. 49 seconds into the Jackets' ninth power play of the night, while at the blue line, Jones fired a shot off a feed from David Savard to make it 5-2. That score would stand through the balance of the game.
Korpisalo played two periods in net before Matiss Kivlenieks finished out the game.
This game certainly didn't end as the Jackets wanted it to on the scoreboard. But it's important to keep in mind the purpose these games serve. Head coach John Tortorella and Jackets management are using them to gain more insight on how players perform in game situations on their own and with one another.
The coaches also know these Jackets are feeling the effects of a skating-heavy training camp. That's the conditioning focus Tortorella wants to bring. And while games are far more fun than skating drills, as Tortorella says, "The boring stuff is the most important stuff at the beginning of camp."
Next up, the Jackets will travel to St. Louis to play the Blues, Wednesday, at 8 p.m. ET.
By the Numbers:
1: Defenseman Zach Werenski took the first shot of the night, and of this preseason. A wrister from the blue line, of course.
3 & 58: Seth Jones and David Savard wore the "A's" for the Blue Jackets.
2: Of the 17 penalties in this game, two were faceoff violations in the game. New NHL rules this season require players to not move their stick or feet and stay behind their lines at puck drop. One move and a player is thrown out of the faceoff, if the replacing player moves, it's a penalty. The Blue Jackets expect a bit of a learning curve with this one.
5: The number of slashing calls, including four by Chicago. That's another rule the League is looking to strictly enforce this season.
13: The number of shot attempts taken by Werenski, the most by any player on the ice from either team, (five on target, four blocked shots, four missed).
What they said:
Head coach John Madden: "Just natural with the camp that we have and the way it's designed that we're going to have some fatigue. I thought we had more sloppy play than anything, but that's to be expected. Guys stayed with it, battled right to the end. We did create a lot of scoring chances, so we'll keep moving on from here."
Sam Vigneault on the new faceoff rules: "When you're at center ice you try to win the draw and get an edge; but now, as soon as you move (the official) is going to kick you out. It's a big adjustment."
John Madden on the new faceoff rules: "I think a lot of wingers in the league are going to take a lot of faceoffs."
Artemi Panarin on the cheer welcoming him to Nationwide Arena: "A big thank you for (the fans). I appreciate them."