Three Things: Some Familiar Trends, Michael Hutchinson's First Start, Last Home Game For A While

By Will Chase on March 11, 2023 at 10:00 pm
St. Louis Blues' Jordan Kyrou celebrates his goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
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Four March games, but four losses.

Jordan Kyrou had a hat trick and Sammy Blais had three points with a goal and two assists as the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2, on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

Kyrou has a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). Brandon Saad had two points with a goal and an assist.

Brayden Schenn and Robert Thomas each had a pair of assists, and Torey Krug, Alexey Toropchenko, and Pavel Buchnevich all scooped up assists. Thomas has points in four straight (two goals, three assists). Buchnevich is on an eight-game point streak (four goals, 10 assists).

Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets. Laine is on a five-game point streak (four goals, two assists) with a goal in each of his last four games.

Johnny Gaudreau had two assists and Nick Blankenburg and Kent Johnson picked up the assists.

Thomas Greiss made 36 saves and Michael Hutchinson made 19 stops.

The Blues led 3-1 after one period. Columbus outshot St. Louis 23-7 in the third period and had 33 shot attempts to 13 for the Blues. The Blue Jackets had a 5v5 xGF advantage of 3.07-1.77 according to Natural Stat Trick. St. Louis sweeps the two-game season series. Tonight was general manager Jarmo Kekalainen’s 800th career game.

Some Familiarity

As life has moved on since the trade deadline over a week ago, there continued some sense of familiarity with the Blue Jackets roster, particularly on the blue line.

Saturday's game marked the 12th straight game for the defensive pairings we've grown accustomed to:

  • Tim Berni - Erik Gudbranson
  • Nick Blankenburg - Andrew Peeke
  • Gavin Bayreuther - Adam Boqvist

Peeke led both teams with five blocked shots.

Among familiar trends, Laine is officially hot with goals in four straight games and his first-period tally at 9:14 tied the score at one goal apiece. 

Laine leads the team with 21 goals and seven power-play goals. Columbus has registered power-play goals in five straight games for the first time since Apr. 19 through Apr. 28 of last season.

Michael Hutchinson's First Start

With Friday's news that Elvis Merzlikins would temporarily be away from the team and in his native Latvia due to his grandmother's illness, Daniil Tarasov was recalled from Cleveland to back up the starter, Hutchinson.

Saturday's game was Hutchinson's first career start all season, and the first since the 2021-22 season when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He hasn't won an NHL game since 2020-21 and only has 11 of his 56 career starts since 2019-20.

Entering play, Hutchinson appeared in relief in each of the last two losses for Columbus since the trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, allowing six goals on 56 shots for a 4.52 GAA and .893 SV%.

Last Home Game For A While

Saturday's home game at Nationwide Arena was the second home game for the month of March, and the last one until last March 24 against the New York Islanders. Columbus is 0-3-1 in the month and is set to embark on a season-long five-game road trip through California, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C. The trip begins a stretch of eight of nine overall on the road.

Tuesday's contest at the San Jose Sharks will pit two teams thick in the middle for the top pick in the upcoming NHL Draft Lottery. Entering Saturday's games, Columbus came in last in the league with 47 points and the Sharks in 31st with 50 points. The Chicago Blackhawks also came into the day with 50 points and in 30th place.

The Wild West

The Blue Jackets take on the Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 10:30 pm ET. The Blue Jackets beat the Sharks, 5-3, on Jan. 21 at Nationwide Arena.

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