Columbus Blue Jackets rookie forward Alexandre Texier impressed again, this time in his playoff debut in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Texier, who played primarily with captain Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson on the team's third line, played 13:08 on 18 shifts, including some time on both the power play (1:10) and the penalty kill (0:22). The line was formed after Tampa Bay rushed out to a 3-0, first period lead. John Tortorella shuffled the lines to try to spark something.
Spoiler alert: it worked.
Texier was dangerous throughout the game, most especially when he made a brilliant individual play, forcing Jan Rutta into a brutal turnover, though the Frenchman was unable to capitalize on his breakaway.
La plus grosse occas des Jackets dans le premier tiers temps vient de Texier. pic.twitter.com/wLCUk3mWub— Charles Trognon (@CharlesTrognon) April 10, 2019
He also was on the ice for Foligno's goal that cut the lead to 3-1, and was in good position to jump on the rebound, should there have been one. Watching it live, I even wondered for a second if Foligno may try to turn it into a 2-on-0, but Erik Cernak's (#81-Tampa) back-check made that an improbability.
Most impressively, though, was that Texier received a regular shift even after the Blue Jackets took a 4-3 lead with just 5:55 remaining in the third period. He played exactly six shifts every period, and played in the shift right after Jones' goal, plus one more with just 2:30 left in regulation.
Think about that. A week ago, Texier had just joined the Blue Jackets after playing seven games in the AHL. Two weeks prior to that, he was playing for KalPa Kuopio of Liiga, Finland's top professional hockey league. He wasn't even remotely close to being on Tortorella's radar!
And yet, Tortorella trusted this kid enough to give him a hugely important shift, up a goal, late in the third period, on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, against perhaps the best hockey team of the modern era. That speaks volumes.
Through all of this, Texier has stayed cool as a cucumber. His media availability from Thursday confirmed that:
Simply put, Texier did not look out of place. His speed, confidence, and creativity are noticeable already, and it's hard not to think about his future with the Blue Jackets. But first, let's enjoy the present.