Fun times, abroad.
The Columbus Blue Jackets met the Colorado Avalanche in Tampere, Finland on Friday as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series.
Entering play, both teams had been off since last weekend when Columbus lost to the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 30, 7-1, at Prudential Center. The Avalanche came in having dropped their second straight decision on Oct. 29 to the New York Islanders, 5-4, on Long Island.
Nick Blankenburg returned to the Blue Jackets lineup after missing the previous three games due to an elbow injury.
Elvis Merzlikins made the start for Columbus, stopping 30 of 35 shots. Alexandar Georgiev made 36 of 39 saves as Colorado won 6-3.
New Country, New Result?
No matter where in the world the Blue Jackets met up to play the Avalanche, it was going to be a tough test. Even with the Avalanche still trying to find their game in the early part of the season.
Logan O'Connor (Alex Newhook, Erik Johnson) started the tone for Colorado, beating Elvis Merzlikins with a one-timer at 1:36 of period one.
J.T. Compher's (Devon Toews, Samuel Girard) power-play goal with six seconds left on the man advantage added to the first-period Avalanche lead. The goal was Compher's first this season.
J.T. Compher with a beauty deflection in front! pic.twitter.com/X88g98odTc— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 4, 2022
The Jackets were able to find momentum late in the first period, even having what appeared to be a first power-play goal of the season but that was not the case.
The puck did go in but it's not gonna be a goal. Roslovic's first shot bounded back under Georgiev after it hit the post. Roslovic poked it in from there but they refs adjudged something to wrong there. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) November 4, 2022
Mikko Rantanen's (Evan Rodriguez, Nathan MacKinnon) second-period goal 35 seconds into the frame added to the lead before the strike went the other way.
Jake Voracek's (Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski) first goal of the season came five seconds into the Blue Jackets' second power play chance of the game. The power-play goal is the first for Columbus, breaking an 0-for-26 slump to start the season. They were 1-for-7 in the game while Colorado was 2-for-5.
It appeared the goal by Voracek was originally going to Laine, but while he settled for the assist on that scoring play, he struck gold with his first goal of the season a little later on to make it 3-2.
Sean Kuraly’s (Liam Foudy, Erik Robinson) game-tying goal brought the Blue Jackets all the way back from down 3-0 to all tied at three apiece at 2:23 of the third. The goal was originally credited to Foudy, which would have been his first career goal.
However, it was all Colorado from there.
Rantanen's (Cale Makar, MacKinnon) second goal of the game at 8:54 of the third on the power play made it 4-3. Makar (MacKinnon, Rantanen) scored his first goal of the season at 10:49 to make it 5-3. Rantanen (MacKinnon, Toews) completed the hat trick with the empty net goal at 18:56 to seal Colorado's 6-3 victory.
Friday's game marked Boone Jenner's 600th career NHL game, which passes Nick Foligno for third on the franchise's all-time games played list.
It shouldn't take long for Jenner to close in on second place on the all-time list, as Cam Atkinson is second with 628. Rick Nash is first with 674.
Of course, the Blue Jackets were represented by some Finns of their own including general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, Joonas Korpisalo, Laine, and even Kent Johnson.
A fun #CBJ fact: Kent Johnson's mother, Anita, was born in Helsinki. KJ is half Finnish, though he grew up in British Columbia.— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) November 4, 2022
Anita is here and quite excited, as you might imagine. She also got to come back in May when Johnson played in the World Championships.
Laine added to his allure, connecting for an assist on Voracek's goal, and later scoring a goal. In addition to his two points, Laine had seven shots in 23:36.
Patrik Laine returns to Finland for his third and fourth career NHL game in his home country. He has 4-04 in his two previous games outside North America (2018 #NHLGlobal Series).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 4, 2022
: @Avalanche vs. @BlueJacketsNHL
: Nov. 4 & 5 at 2 p.m. ET
: @NHLNetwork, BSOH, ALT, SN pic.twitter.com/ZnZ4KC1CcF
Korpisalo was along for the trip but did not see any action on Friday. Johnson (9:45) did not register a point.
Artturi Lehkonen (21:10, two shots), Rantanen (three goals, one assist), and Justus Annunen (did not play) represented Finland as those on the Avalanche to make the trip.
The Blue Jackets finish their back-to-back with the Avalanche in Tampere, Finland on Saturday, Nov. 5. Saturday's game is set for 2:00 pm ET.