Alexandre Texier's Limited Ice Time May Foreshadow a Lineup Change for the Blue Jackets in Game 3

By Jacob Nitzberg on April 29, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets center Alexandre Texier (42) battles with Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the first period in game one of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden.
Greg M. Cooper – USA TODAY Sports
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Alexandre Texier saw only 10:01 of ice time in Game 2, despite the game lasting almost 84 minutes and stretching into two overtimes.

That mark was the lowest TOI by any skater for Columbus. With seven minutes gone by in the third period, Texier stepped off the ice for the last time in Game 2 — and he didn't play another shift in the third period, first overtime, or second overtime. On his last shift, he made a turnover that led to a Bruins odd-man rush and chance for Jake DeBrusk, and he didn't see the ice again. 

Texier looked good in the Blue Jackets' sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning and gave them a shot in the arm offensively, but has looked lost at times in two games against the Boston Bruins. These have been fast, physical and seemingly overwhelming games for Texier, and John Tortorella has drastically reduced the rookie's ice time.

When Alexander Wennberg drew back into the lineup for Game 2, it wasn't for Texier — which could be seen as a testament to his play. Instead, Wennberg drew in for Ryan Dzingel, who's had a disappointing run with the Blue Jackets after coming over in a trade with Ottawa.

Wennberg played well, particularly on the penalty kill and playing an overall, well-rounded game. Tortorella had this to say on Wennberg's performance: 

“I’m not going to talk about lineups and why I do it, but Wenny certainly helped us in our penalty kill. And we needed him tonight in the amount of penalties we took and I thought he played a pretty good game.”

With a strong showing in Game 2, it's reasonable to expect Wennberg will remain in the lineup for Game 3 on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena, which then begs the question: what happens to Texier? 

Usually, when a player is held out of the game for the last 37 minutes, it's a good indication that they won't be in the lineup next game. However, Tortorella sometimes makes lineup decisions that leave many people scratching their heads.

Dzingel's Game 2 healthy scratch may be a necessary wake-up call; Dzingel scored 22 goals in 57 games with the Senators, but has only four goals in 26 games with the Blue Jackets – and is without a point in five playoff games. It leaves Tortorella with a tricky decision to make before Game 3, as his team needs more offense outside of its top players.

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