With the trade deadline right around the corner, the Columbus Blue Jackets have lost consecutive games on the first two days of the week. One huge question looms for the organization. Buy or sell?
Defenseman Ryan Murray and Forward Artemi Panarin combined for six points in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. Despite a lousy second period that featured 20 shots on goal from the Blackhawks, the Jackets looked to be a formidable team for the most part as they improved their road record to 18-9-1.
Monday night doesn’t look as bad as it felt in the moment, as the Lightning (who defeated the Jackets 5-1) have been unfazed, winning their last six games and are in a league of their own (with 17 points more than any other team). Also, with the news of Panarin having the flu, it makes sense that he wasn’t very effective and only had 16:09 of ice time.
Fast forward to the second period of Tuesday’s game against Montreal. The offense only generated nine shots in the opening period, and the Canadiens went up 2-0. This was thanks to a puck that bounced off Eric Robinson back to Max Domi and a fluky or unbelievable (you make the call) pass from Jesperi Kotkaniemi that went off the boards and conveniently right on to the stick of Paul Byron.
Columbus found themselves in a hole, and it was Josh Anderson who dug them out of it.
At the 1:05 mark of the second period, Anderson took a pass from Boone Jenner while in transition, skated into the offensive zone and sniped the puck past Carey Price to make it a 2-1 hockey game. With 11:53 remaining in regulation it was Anderson who once again received a pass from Jenner. On this occasion he crashed the net, getting a shot off that was rebounded by Nick Foligno, who tied the game up 2-2.
John Tortorella had this to say amongst other things about Anderson after the game:
He’s become a force.
Columbus wasn’t able to complete the comeback, however, as Jordie Benn had the pass of the night, finding Thomas Tatar who had snuck out from behind the net to score the game-winning goal.
Anderson gave credit to the opposing goaltender, who was able to make some big saves down the stretch:
When it mattered at the end…Price came up big.
Torts knows his team was in the mix, saying:
We’re right there…We’re just having problems trying to finish games.
Anderson was the top performer for the CBJ in the 3-2 loss, but Seth Jones had a valiant effort. Jones was on the ice for 28:56, recorded five shots on goal and avoided a golden opportunity for the Canadiens to score on an open net.
Eric Robinson also turned some heads, with his speed being on full display once again while generating three shots on the night.
The shorthanded Jackets couldn’t quite finish their comeback on Tuesday night. They could use a boost on Friday to get back on the winning side of things again as they’ll remain north of the border to face the Ottawa Senators.