Three Things: Gaudreau Returns, Blue Jackets Tamed, Everything But Score

By Will Chase on February 23, 2023 at 10:16 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets' Johnny Gaudreau stick handles in the offensive zone against the Minnesota Wild during the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

There goes the point streak.

Brandon Duhaime and Kirill Kaprizov scored first-period goals to lift the Minnesota Wild over the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-0, on Thursday at Nationwide Arena.

Kaprizov is on a three-game point streak (three goals, one assist).

Frederick Gaudreau, Jake Middleton, and Ryan Hartman picked up assists. Hartman is also on a three-game point streak (three goals, two assists).

Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 17th win of the season, making all 30 stops. It's Fleury's first shutout this season, the first in his career against the Blue Jackets, and the 73rd of his career, which is the 12th most in NHL history. Fleury has four of his 17 wins against playoff teams.

Joonas Korpisalo made 25 saves. Cole Sillinger missed the game due to illness.

Gaudreau Returns

He played 349 consecutive games spanning eight and a half seasons. Then that streak ended last weekend prior to the win over the Dallas Stars due to a lower-body injury.

Following two consecutive games out of the lineup, Gaudreau was back for the Blue Jackets on Thursday to start a new streak, which happened to coincide with another streak; the Blue Jackets' three-game point streak (2-0-1) entering play.

Gaudreau played on his familiar first line with Boone Jenner and Patrik Laine.

The trio being back together was not enough to register on the scoresheet as the Blue Jackets as a whole couldn't solve Fleury's mastery. In addition to Gaudreau, Sean Kuraly kept the 'A' for the night. Jenner led the game with six shots on net.

Blue Jackets Tamed

As the Blue Jackets looked to continue their three-game point streak and get their third win in four tries, the Wild had other ideas.

Duhaime and Kaprizov's first-period goals set the tone for the night, although Korpisalo made his impact early.

The goaltender made a highlight reel save on Kirill Kaprizov just a few minutes into the contest following a turnover by Laine. Korpisalo did that on Kaprizov a few times before the winger's team-leading 34th goal at 8:48. Kaprizov leads the Wild with 68 points, and is second with 34 assists.

On a penalty kill late in the first period, Liam Foudy missed a golden opportunity.

Fleury couldn't cleanly handle the puck as it came back off the boards on a dump-in and Foudy was there for a wide-open look but the puck went wide.

Prior to the game, the Wild were involved in a three-way trade involving the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. This is especially interesting considering the Vladislav Gavrikov-to-the-Bruins rumors and the Capitals sending defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the Bruins. The trade deadline is Friday, Mar. 3.

Everything But Score

The Blue Jackets won the face-off battle, 37-15 (71.2%), and Kuraly led the game winning 13-of-15 (86.7%). In his first game playing center for Columbus, Lane Pederson won seven of eight (87.5%) in 7:06.

In addition to Foudy's first-period chance, the Blue Jackets had a third-period chance off a turnover in the Wild's end, leading to a mad scramble.

McDavid & Co.

The Blue Jackets host the Edmonton Oilers at Nationwide Arena on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 12:30 pm ET. The Blue Jackets took the first meeting, 3-2, in overtime in Edmonton on Jan. 25. The Oilers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-2, tonight at PPG Paints Arena.