The Columbus Blue Jackets apparently learned a lesson from their opening day loss in the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan Sunday. The CBJ youngsters responded Monday night with an all-around effort in game two of the tourney, a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Blues prospects.
Columbus dominated much of the play and led 4-1 at one point, before St. Louis got three goals back, the last coming with two seconds left to make the score-line a little more flattering for the Blues.
"We played extremely well tonight," said Jackets' development coach Tyler Wright. "It was a real gritty effort. "We outworked them, we out-chanced them."
Matt Calvert had a hat trick, including an empty net goal and Tomas Kubalik, a 19-year-old Plzen, Czech Republic native drafted 135th overall by Columbus two summers ago, scored for the Blue Jackets as well.
Kubalik was an offensive catalyst in the first period, one that Columbus outshot the Blues 18-1.
"Tomas could have had four goals," said Wright. "He had two goals in the first period, one on a great play by Matt Calvert from behind the net. That line was really strong tonight."
Eighteen-year-old camp invitee Cass Mappin, from Big Valley, Alberta, had the other Columbus goal.
Goaltender Andrew Loverock, who won 20 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves last season, earned the victory, playing the entire game.
Wright liked the fact that CBJ prospects were up for the game against St. Louis, a franchise developing a heated rivalry with Columbus at the NHL level.
"Any time we play a team like St. Louis, it's a division rivalry," Wright said. "Whether it's in an intra squad game or an exhibition game, we want to win."
The Good: Calvert and Kubalik were a lethal duo, carrying the offense against the Blues. But they were hardly alone in standing out. Mappin impressed, as did 20-year-old defensive prospect Cam Brodie, a big 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from White Rock, B.C. Brodie was one of the more physical players on the ice Monday.
"A lot of guys stood up tonight and capitalized on their opportunity and we were happy with that," said Wright.
The Not So Good: Columbus had the game well in hand but let St. Louis creep back into it. But the overall play and effort was good news to the coaches.
We gave up some late goals that we probably would like to have back," said Wright. "But with that said, we thought everyone competed very well.
"Everyone was a lot better tonight."