Blue Jackets Have Trouble Getting Offense Going in Calgary As Flames Win Big

By Jacob Nitzberg on February 15, 2022 at 11:29 pm
Feb 15, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube (29) battles for the puck with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand (28) and goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames are a tough team, and it takes a lot to beat them.

The Blue Jackets didn't have enough to do so on Tuesday night and the Flames took advantage, winning 6-2 on a night where there was no question who the better team on the ice was. Luckily, this is the last time that the Blue Jackets will run into the Flames' buzzsaw this season. In their two-game season series, Calgary outscored Columbus 12-2.

Just two minutes and ten seconds into this one, Erik Gudbranson got it started for the Flames with his third goal of the season. His shot from the point made it by Elvis Merzlikins to give the home team an early advantage.

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With three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the opening frame, the Flames extended their lead. Elias Lindholm was credited with his 19th goal of the season, but that's only because own goals aren't an official statistic in the NHL. Andrew Peeke tried to clear the puck in front of the net but ended up sweeping it past Merzlikins to make it 2-0, Calgary. 

80 seconds later, Adam Boqvist got one back for the Blue Jackets, capitalizing on a loose puck after Patrik Laine's initial effort was blocked. Boqvist's nine goals lead all Blue Jackets defensemen and are tied for the fifth-most in the NHL by a defenseman. Laine got the primary assist, pushing his point streak to seven games. He's tallied 7-6-13 in those seven games.

The second period saw the Blue Jackets kill off two minor penalties (Brendan Gaunce for interference and Vladislav Gavrikov for delay of game) before Calgary's unstoppable top line struck for a big goal. After a turnover by Jack Roslovic, Matthew Tkachuk beat Merzlikins with a wrister. Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau assisted. It was Tkachuk's 22nd of the season, and he's on pace to shatter his previous season-best (34 in 2018-'19).

Before the game, the line of Tkachuk-Lindholm-Gaudreau had an expected goals for percentage of 63.3% according to MoneyPuck. That's seventh in the NHL (min. 125 min played together) and may increase after Tuesday night.

The Flames weren't done. Boqvist drew a holding penalty on Blake Coleman, but Dillon Dube scored a shorthanded goal on the ensuing power play. After 40 minutes, the Blue Jackets headed into the locker room down 4-1. They were outshot 17-4 by the Flames in the second period.

In the final period, Adam Ruzicka gave the Flames a four-goal cushion with his fourth goal of the season, but Zach Werenski answered with a backhand that eluded Flames netminder Dan Vladar at the 8:08 mark, giving Werenski his seventh goal of the season as he chases Boqvist for the team lead for defensemen.

5-2 was as close as the Blue Jackets would get, as Toffoli scored a backhander with 8:56 remaining in his Flames debut one day after the team acquired him from Montreal. Toffoli gathered the puck deep in the Blue Jackets' zone, brought it past Merzlikins on his forehand, then switched to his backhand to finish.

Next Up

The Blue Jackets (23-23-1, 47 points) will head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks (18-24-7, 43 points) on Thursday night. Puck drop is slated for 8:30 p.m. EST.