Would you be surprised to learn Alexandre Texier is second on the team with 10 goals?
The Columbus Blue Jackets earned a huge two points on Thursday in a 4-3 shootout win against the Nashville Predators.
Alexandre Texier did his part with his game-tying third period goal, before scoring in the shootout on a slick move that he's shown—and successfully converted—a few times before. The unassisted goal at 6:27 of the third was a howitzer of a shot from the top of the right face-off circle to beat David Rittich to tie the game at three.
Going back a few moments before the goal, Elvis Merzlikins made a nifty pass up the ice to find Texier himself, and then the Frenchman found the puck back on his stick for the shot and goal seconds later.
In the shootout, Texier went five-hole past Rittich on a move he converted on last season against the Florida Panthers, and again recently in practice.
ALEXANDRE TEXIER, HE DID IT AGAIN. pic.twitter.com/2WgcGzPJJs— NHL (@NHL) December 31, 2021
In addition to the big goals, Texier finished with two shots on net in 20:08 of ice time, including 3:02 on the penalty kill. He was second among forwards with Boone Jenner and Jake Voracek as they skated 27 shifts.
"It's always nice to score some goals and help the team to win," Texier said. "Just have to find a way and I think that's what we did. Didn't play our best game, but found a way to win this hockey game."
It's easy to have fun when you're playing with confidence and Texier has exhibited a lot of that, as demonstrated with his puck play leading to 10 goals so far this season.
"That's what I'm trying to do and I learned from earlier this season when things are not going well...doesn't matter if you score, you just have to work out," Texier said. "Like I said before, after the game, you can tell you put everything on the ice every single night so that's what I'm trying to do and try to help the team win a hockey game."
Texier said he doesn't have a name yet for his shootout wizardry of a shot, or rather it's a secret, and that it's not a shot he would have tried earlier in the season. How long has he been working on it, and is Texier feeling more confident, yet?
"To be honest, a couple of times but I won't do it again if I don't have confidence," Texier said. "Even during the game, you don't think about that. I just went there and then it was open so I did it once so why not two?"
As good as Texier has played to this point on the calendar, he's trying to stay composed and consistent.
"It's just one game and I'm focused right now on the next game," Texier said. "Don't get too high or don't get too low, (play the) same way every single night and I think it's going to help my game and it's going to help the team too."
In addition to what we've seen from Texier, he knows there's still more to give.
"I'm 22, I have a lot to work on and it's early in my career," Texier said. "I think my game can be way better so that's what I'm working on right now."
Among the trends we've seen in the early going of this season has been the drastic nature by which the team has played on the road as opposed to playing at Nationwide Arena, where the Blue Jackets are 10-3-1.
"It's huge, (the fans) gave us some energy," Texier said. "You can see it from the warm-up until the end of the game. It's huge. I think we find a way to win some games at home for us, for our fans, and then they support us...it feels so good to play at home."
Texier has obviously been among the key contributors this season for the Blue Jackets with 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 29 games. The points and goals scored are career-highs as both totals will keep climbing this season.
He doesn't have a point on the power play but he does have one short-handed goal, which came on Nov. 20 at the Vegas Golden Knights. Texier also leads the team with nine even strength goals.
Alexandre Texier has 8-7-15 in his last 20 games and then there's this. He's really just getting better and better out there. Looks like a key piece to build around for years to come. #CBJ https://t.co/4JQ6583FgG— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) December 31, 2021
What does Brad Larsen think of Texier's progression this season?
"He's calmed his mind down a bit," Larsen said. "It's never been a work ethic thing and it's never been a desire or a lack of competitiveness with him. He's always had a really good skillset. I think the one thing he had there in the first few years was it was really forced. It didn't come naturally, he was very jittery with the puck, and this year you can see he's got a calm with it.
He's trusting his shot, he's trusting the next play. He's always had legs but now he's kind of putting the two together. You start putting it in the net and you take a breath and it's good to see him now. He's skating with the puck. His game is coming. There's still room for growth for me but there's something to be excited about there."
Texier and the Blue Jackets will look to make it two in a row on New Year's Day when the first-place Carolina Hurricanes come rolling into town at 1 pm ET.