Even by preseason standards, this was a wild game.
The Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins always manage to play entertaining and bombastic games against each other, whether it's regular season, the Stanley Cup playoffs, or an exhibition tune-up in late September.
In both teams' "dress rehearsal" game tonight at Nationwide Arena, it was the latter. And you know what? It was kind of fun.
Both teams scored three times in the first period and twice more in the second, capitalizing on a litany of power play, turnovers, and nifty passing sequences off the rush. The coaches are sure to hate it, but it was (at times) entertaining.
The result: a 7-6 Blue Jackets win thanks to an Oliver Bjorkstrand go-ahead goal with 3:56 remaining. He took a stretch pass along the boards at the attacking blue line and ripped a shot past Casey DeSmith on the glove side.
But wait! There's more scoring notes to cover.
Zach Werenski made his long-awaited preseason debut and had four assists in 25 minutes of ice time, and looked every bit the part of a player who's ready to go. He was really good.
Artemi Panarin (two goals, two assists) and Cam Atkinson (one goal, three assists) also had four-point efforts. While it wasn't a great night for Sergei Bobrovsky, who yielded six goals on 29 shots, the Blue Jackets had plenty of offense in the tank to make up for it. This was a 2-0 game, a 4-2 game, a 5-3 game, a 5-5 game, a 6-5 game, then a 7-6 game...it had a little bit of everything.
Is this how it's going to go?
Already thin on defense with Ryan Murray and Seth Jones injured, the Blue Jackets lost Scott Harrington on his first shift of the game due to an upper body injury. He did not return, leaving Columbus with five defensemen for nearly the entire game.
The preseason schedule concludes tomorrow night (Saturday) at the United Center in Chicago against the Blackhawks.
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