Johnny Gaudreau Rides Four-Game Point Streak, Five Straight Assists Streak, Into Tuesday's Tilt In Ottawa

By Will Chase on February 12, 2024 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets' Johnny Gaudreau and Tampa Bay Lightning's Luke Glendening chase down a loose puck during the third period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of things aren't going to plan but here we are, looking for the positives somewhere, right?

The season hasn't gone according to plan for Johnny Gaudreau but he can show he still has it.

Following his two-assist third-period output in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gaudreau is on a four-game point streak, including five straight assists dating back to Jan. 27.

The Columbus Blue Jackets were down 3-0 in the third period against the Lightning when Boone Jenner scored the first of his two goals. Both times, he buried passes from Gaudreau.

At 12:22, Jenner fired home a redirect on an elite pass from Gaudreau on the doorstep of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Minutes later, Jenner finished another feed from Gaudreau on the power play to make it a 3-2 game at 15:50. The scoring sequence was similar to the first goal, with Gaudreau's pass coming from the faceoff circle to Vasilevskiy's right and Jenner camped out in front of the goalie to push it through.

Jenner has three multi-goal games this season, with a hat trick against the New York Rangers on Oct. 14 and a two-goal game against the Chicago Blackhawk on Nov. 22.

Maybe newfound momentum helped provide a spark for the home team. Damon Severson came to Gaudreau's aid late in the second period after Darren Raddysh pushed Gaudreau to the ice along the corner. Although Severson was also assessed a minor for cross-checking, and Tampa Bay scored early in the third period to extend the three-goal lead. 

Then just before Jenner's third-period tallies, a scrum broke out between the Jackets and Lightning after Michael Eyssimont gave Ivan Provorov a post-whistle shove.

Provorov was bloodied and assessed a major for cross-checking before a review reduced the call to a minor. He was also tagged for two minutes for roughing, and Eyssimont was assessed a double-minor for roughing to put both teams at 4v4.

Following Blue Jackets goals, they had the Lightning on their heels, but Tampa secured the empty-net goal for the win.  

Through 51 games this season, Gaudreau has a modest 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists), though he leads the team in points and is second in assists, trailing Zach Werenski by one.

That says more about the Blue Jackets and where they are offensively. Columbus is one of five teams not to have a 40-point player yet.

Nikita Kucherov leads the league with 89 points and 56 assists and is tied for third with 33 goals.

Even though Gaudreau is off to the worst goal-scoring stretch of his career, head coach Pascal Vincent is encouraged by what he's seeing from his star winger.

"When I say the team is coming together, (Gaudreau) is one of the guys ... he's not a big talker but he's taking more space in the room now," Vincent said after Saturday's loss. "But his game tonight, he was dynamite, he was excellent. Johnny is an excellent hockey player and when he plays like tonight, our team looks different."

The Blue Jackets are on the road Tuesday to kick off a four-game road trip when they face the Ottawa Senators from Canadian Tire Centre.