The game got off to an ominous start on Tuesday night when the Nashville Predators drew a penalty just seconds after the puck dropped. After allowing three power play goals to the New York Rangers on Monday, it certainly wasn’t the way the CBJ wanted to get started, but they were able to successfully kill it off.
Both sides seemed to be feeling each other out early on, leading to a scoreless first period. As has become commonplace for the Jackets, they went 0-2 on the power play in the first 20 minutes of the hockey game.
Both Pekka Rinne and Joonas Korpisalo kept the game scoreless through the half-way-point of the contest. With 7:24 left in the second period, the Predators struck first. Viktor Arvidsson skated deep into the CBJ zone and found defenseman Matt Irwin all alone following up the play, who fired it past Korpisalo to put the Preds up 1-0.
The game would remain 1-0 until early in the third period. Pierre Luc Dubois picked the pocket of Predators defenseman P.K. Subban and went in on a breakaway. His backhander beat Rinne to tie the game up at 1-1.
As the time on the clock ticked away, the Blue Jackets kept applying pressure but Rinne met every challenge thrown his way. With 5:35 remaining in the third period, Calle Jarnkrok knocked in a juicy rebound given up by Joonas Korpisalo to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. John Tortorella would challenge the call on the ice, but even though it appeared Korpisalo was bumped, the goal stood. The way the Jackets were playing, though, it didn’t seem like a back breaker at the time.
The Jackets’ chances seemed to get a little better with just over five minutes left, when Josh Anderson was tripped. Zach Werenski had a puck go off the heel of his stick with a wide-open net on the man advantage as once again, the CBJ power play couldn’t convert.
With just over a minute remaining in the game, Korpisalo made his way to the bench to get the extra attacker on the ice. The Jackets generated an extended opportunity in the offensive zone but Rinne kept the puck out of the net. A blocked shot sent the puck out of the zone, where an exhausted Arvidsson collected it and deposited it into the empty net to seal the 3-1 Nashville victory.
Although the CBJ power play went 0-4 on the night, it did show some signs of life. Some of that could be credited to the return of Cam Atkinson to the lineup, but generally the unit as a whole generated better opportunities than they had in recent games. Nick Foligno commented after the game:
It’s the best I’ve seen us snap it around on the power play in a long time.
John Tortorella echoed that sentiment, saying:
Quite honestly I thought the first power play looked good all night long. We’re close. But we just can’t find a way to score a goal tonight when we needed it.
There are certainly positive takeaways from the game that the Jackets can build off of, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Foligno said:
There’s all good signs coming but at the end of the day though…you got to find ways to get wins and we didn’t do that tonight and it’s disappointing because we did a lot of good things and they’re the team that found the one at the end to get them the lead and we didn’t.
The CBJ are now 9-6-1 and find themselves on a three-game losing streak. They’ll try once again to get their 10th win of the season on Friday night at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.