Three Things: Adam Boqvist's 100th, Little Offense, Penalty Kill Improving

By Will Chase on January 11, 2022 at 9:50 pm
Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks battles for the loose puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It was a reunion of sorts as one player got to play his former team.

The Columbus Blue Jackets met the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena in what was to be the much-anticipated return of Seth Jones since last summer's big trade.

Instead, Jones did not play due to testing positive for COVID, as that news broke following Tuesday's morning skate. Adam Boqvist though did see his former team ... more on him later.

Joonas Korpisalo (16 saves on 20 shots) made his fourth consecutive start while Elvis Merzlikins is doing better (lower-body) and suited up as the backup. Marc-Andre Fleury made the start for the Blackhawks making 24 saves on 26 shots as the Blackhawks won this game 4-2.

Adam Boqvist

Boqvist played his 100th career game after spending the first two seasons of his career with the Blackhawks. He had two shots on goal and had a blocked shot in 20:12 ice time.

Boqvist didn't register a point tonight but got a nice shot off on Fleury inside the final five minutes of play. 

He's had a solid season so far with 14 points (seven goals, seven assists), and has five points (one goal, four assists) since Dec. 30.

(In)Offensive Night

Boone Jenner (Zach Werenski, Gus Nyquist assist) punched one through at 12:51 to beat Fleury in the first period, but the Blue Jackets gave up Alex DeBrincat's (Riley Stillman) 22nd and game-tying goal only 19 seconds later.

Quick retaliation goals continue to be a daily theme.

As the first period was expiring, Jenner found himself all alone but couldn't haul in the loose puck for a final chance at Fleury and the period ended at one apiece.

Though Columbus had the 8-3 second period edge in shots, Calvin de Haan's (Philipp Kurashev, MacKenzie Entwistle) first goal of the season at 15:10 was among the shots to get past Korpisalo. 

Dublin, Ohio native and former AAA Blue Jacket Connor Murphy (Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane) scored his third goal of the season to put the Blackhawks ahead 3-1 at 6:36. It was his first career goal against the Blue Jackets and that proved to be the game-winner. 

As Gus Nyquist (unassisted) was able to bring the Blue Jackets within one on a short-handed goal — he has three short-handed goals this season — the Blackhawks sealed the game on Debrincat's (Stillman) second goal of the game with the empty-net tally at 19:45.

The Blue Jackets were 0-for-2 on the power play while the Blackhawks were 0-for-4. Columbus had 18 shots blocked. Vladislav Gavrikov led the way with four of the 10 blocked Blackhawks shots.

Patrik Laine had just his second game this season without a shot on goal — tonight was his first game without a shot attempt. He also failed to record a shot on goal on opening night against the Arizona Coyotes but he did have two assists that night.

Penalty Kill Success

It's been a struggle this season (76.9% entering play) but after four more successful kills on the night, the Blue Jackets have now killed off nine of 10 penalties. The Blue Jackets last allowed a short-handed goal on Jan. 5 at the New Jersey Devils.

Then you throw in Nyquist's third short-handed goal — he only had one in his career (last season) before this year. 

We talked about the power play hopefully turning a corner following last Saturday's game. While that narrative didn't pan out on this night, the special teams have to continue to improve and maybe the penalty kill has found its way.

Eye Of The Storm

The Blue Jackets face off with the scorching Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes are 2-0 against the Blue Jackets this season after winning 5-1 and then 7-4 on New Year's Day, both at Nationwide Arena. Tuesday's game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Hurricanes was postponed due to COVID issues on the Flyers.

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