BLUES (6-1-0) 4, BLUE JACKETS (2-5-1) 1
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said he was interested to see how his team came out of the gates tonight against a St. Louis club that would be ready to play, and one that had been playing very well to start the season. Unfortunately, he had an answer in the first 10 minutes.
Barret Jackman sent a floater through traffic to open the scoring just 2:19 into the game, Patrik Berglund ripped in a one-timer on the power play at 10:23, and less than three minutes later the night was over for Sergei Bobrovsky on a goal by Vladimir Tarasenko. Bobrovsky didn't have much help, and he lasted long enough to see three goals on 11 shots before Steve Mason relieved him with 6:37 to go in the opening period.
It was the exact opposite start the Blue Jackets were looking for, and though they got better as the game moved along, spotting a team like the Blues (or any team, for that matter) with a three-goal cushion is awfully difficult to make amends for. Mason was terrific in relief and kept the Blues off the scoreboard with a handful of stellar stops, but the Blue Jackets couldn't muster any offense until late in the second period.
Jackman took a cross-checking penalty and put the Blue Jackets on a power play they absolutely had to cash in on, and Derick Brassard made certain of it. He received a perfect cross-ice pass from Brandon Dubinsky and roofed the puck over Brian Elliot's glove hand, cutting the lead to 3-1 with 3:09 to go in the middle frame.
The Blue Jackets had opportunities after the Brassard goal -- including two goal posts on late period power play -- but could not make it a one-goal hockey game. St. Louis shut it down in the third period and limited much of they space it gave up in a sluggish second period, adding an empty-netter from David Backes for the 4-1 final.
Tarasenko's goal was the big one and really seemed to deflate the Blue Jackets. It was a harmless looking play as he crossed the attacking blue line in a one-on-one situation, but got just enough space to snap a quick wrister toward Bobrovsky that eluded the Columbus netminder. The goaltending change was effective only because Mason was sharp off the bench, and the 3-0 lead was enough to hold up the rest of the way.
- Mason made a big save on Backes late in the second period as the Blues got a 2-on-1 rush while shorthanded. It could have been a 4-0 game and lights out at that moment, but a left-pad stop gave the Blue Jackets some life before the Brassard goal.
- Part of Columbus' struggles tonight began in the face-off circle; the Blue Jackets won 45 percent of the draws in the game and found themselves chasing the play far too often.
- Not a bad debut for Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who had a few chances on his line with Ryan Johansen and Vinny Prospal. The most effective line on the forecheck was the fourth line, and while that's encouraging, the Blue Jackets need more of their units at that level.
- David Savard and Tim Erixon played well in their season debuts. Erixon caught a tough break on the first St. Louis goal and took a couple of minor penalties, but showed his ability to move the puck and make a solid first pass.
vs. Detroit Red Wings
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: CD 102.5 FM & BlueJackets.com