The Blue Jackets earned a 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
It wasn't just fans but fun that returned to Nationwide Arena, as Columbus got a much-needed offensive explosion on the way to the win that snapped a five-game losing skid. Three goals in the second period broke the game open and Columbus was able to carry the win home from there.
Quote of the Game
Zach Werenski: "We played well tonight. We were loose on the bench, guys were making plays. That's something we've talked about lately, guys have gripped their sticks a little tight. I think it was huge for our club to be loose out there, make plays, score some goals and get a big win."
- Cam Atkinson scored his team-best 10th goal of the year, his fourth shorthanded tally of the season. His four shorthanded goals ties a career high and is one behind the CBJ single-season record (Rick Nash had five in 2008-09). He also added an assist to give him a 9-6-15 line in the last 13 games.
- Boone Jenner scored his seventh goal of the season to move into second place on the team.
- Riley Nash notched his third tally of the year, while Jack Roslovic scored in front of a home crowd for the first time, his fifth goal of the year.
Video: Atkinson, Foligno lift Blue Jackets to victory
The first period followed a familiar pattern -- Columbus scored first but saw Detroit come back to tie it before the period ended, though with the twist of both goals coming with the Red Wings on the power play.
It was Atkinson who started the scoring, picking up a loose puck in the CBJ zone with Detroit on the power play and going the other way in a 2-on-1 with Alexandre Texier. But rather than pass, Atkinson took a slap shot as he entered the right circle and simply blew the puck past goalie Jonathan Bernier short side at 7:44 to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
But Detroit had the answer on its next power-play chance later in the period. This time, the Blue Jackets couldn't quite get the one last clear they needed, and Anthony Mantha took a pass from Christian Djoos in the left circle and beat Joonas Korpisalo with a wrist shot to tie things at 1 at 15:46.
Columbus also had some chances at 5-on-5, but Bernier was strong in the period, at one point stopping a backhander by Atkinson from in close and then also sprawling to his left to swallow up the rebound try by Roslovic.
But those near misses became goals in the second period as a CBJ team that had been outscored 31-14 this year in the middle frame put up three tallies and could have had more. One goal was disallowed, as a tally by Seth Jones just after the end of a power play was disallowed when Detroit challenged for offsides, a challenge that was upheld.
Just 19 seconds later, though, Nash gave Columbus a 2-1 lead as he scored in transition on a pass from Emil Bemstrom. The Swedish forward got his first point of the year when he slid the puck across to Nash from left to right, and the latter's wrister went textbook top cheese over the glove of Bernier at 7:26 to give the Jackets the lead.
Less than two minutes later, it was 3-1 as Columbus tallied on the power play. Werenski took a pass from Atkinson and fired a wrister from the top of the zone that was deflected in front by Roslovic, bounced off the ice and popped over Bernier at 9:16.
Max Domi, Roslovic and Oliver Bjorkstrand later had looks to make it 4-1 -- with the latter hitting the crossbar -- before Jenner finally gave Columbus a three-goal lead, taking a feed from Werenski in the right circle and sniping one off the bar and in past Bernier from the right dot.
Bernier was pulled for Thomas Greiss going into the third having made 23 stops on 27 shots against. Greiss' best stop was when he denied Jenner on a rebound midway through the period, while Korpisalo made a nice save on Robby Fabbri from in tight in the period as well as the game reached its inevitable conclusion.
1. A wonderful night: If you're looking for negatives, good luck finding them after this game. The Blue Jackets not only snapped a five-game losing skid, they did it in comprehensive fashion, thoroughly dominating the Red Wings. Per Natural Stat Trick, at 5-on-5, Columbus had an edge in expected goals (a measure of shot quality and quantity) in all three periods -- it was 2.29-0.60 by the end of the game -- and every single player on the ice for the Jackets had a better than 50 percent mark in expected goals for by the end of the night at 5-on-5. Add in the return of fans to Nationwide Arena, and for a team that seemingly spent (at least) the past week playing under a cloud, it was like the fog was lifted. "We knew we wanted to turn the page and have a clean slate, and what better way to start that than with bringing our fans inside the stadium to cheer us on," Atkinson said.
2. Second heaven: Much of the year, the games have followed a familiar script for the Blue Jackets -- score first -- that's happened 17 out of 24 games this year, an NHL best -- and then allow the other team to get back in it. Despite that proclivity for going up 1-0, Columbus had won just six of the first 16 such games, posting a record of 6-6-4 when scoring first. So when Detroit tied things up late in the first with Mantha's power-play goal, it could have felt like, "Here we go again." When Jones' goal was disallowed and Bernier had some big saves in the first few minutes of the second, the same vibe was in the air, but all the Jackets did from there was dominate the rest of the second and score thrice in just over 10 minutes. "Obviously we know what that feels like; we've had some bad second periods as of late," Werenski said. "It was a really good period by us."
3. Cam's cannon blast: In some ways, it was fitting that Atkinson -- one of the two longest tenured Blue Jackets, as he and David Savard are each in their 10th seasons in union blue -- was the one to get things started with a shorthanded goal. First off, as we noted above, he's been a master at shorthanded goals in his career, a credit to his anticipation skills and ability to finish on the rush. It was also nice that he learned from his busted 2-on-1 vs. Nashville on Sunday when he tried to pass and instead saw the play broken up by Filip Forsberg. "I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice," he said. But most of all, for someone who has been here for so many ups and downs, it was fitting to see Atkinson be the one to set the cannon off in front of fans for the first time in more than a year. You got the sense he wasn't going to miss that chance as he skated in.
Korpisalo finished with 19 saves on 20 shots against. ... Atkinson also notched four shorthanded goals in 2018-19, and his quartet of shorties this year leads the NHL. … He also has a CBJ-record 16 such goals in his career. ... Atkinson has eight goals in the past 11 games as well. … With his two assists, Werenski had his first multi-point outing of the season. … Roslovic has a 5-9-14 line in the last 15 games. … Jenner has a seven-game point streak vs. Detroit (3-5-8). ... With an assist on the Jenner goal, Jones has a 1-11-12 line in the last 14 games with points in 10 of those contests. ... Columbus has has outscored teams 26-16 in the first period. … The Blue Jackets have won six of the last seven vs. Detroit in Nationwide Arena and are 13-4-1 the last 10 years vs. Detroit in Columbus. Overall, Columbus is 13-1-1 in the last 15 games against the Red Wings. … The Blue Jackets win was their 41st all-time vs. Detroit, the Jackets' most all-time against an opponent.
The Blue Jackets made no changes to the 18-skater lineup, using the same lineup for the fourth game in a row. Scratches were forward Mikhail Grigorenko as well as defensemen Dean Kukan and Scott Harrington.
Columbus hits the road for a pair of games in Dallas on Thursday and Saturday. The opener of the two-game set Thursday will be at 8:30 p.m.