Three Thoughts: A Good Night For Pierre-Luc Dubois, but Blue Jackets Fall 4-3 to the Penguins at Nationwide Arena

By Rob Mixer on September 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm
Pierre-Luc Dubois
Aaron Doster - USA TODAY Sports

The bad news: it's another preseason loss for the Blue Jackets. They're 0-2-1 in the games that don't matter.

The good news: we got a glimpse of something promising from Pierre-Luc Dubois and Sonny Milano, both of whom had their hands in the offense tonight for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky made his preseason debut and stopped 15 of 17 shots, while Antti Niemi (the Penguins' new backup to Matt Murray) played the entire game in Pittsburgh's 4-3 win.

Olli Maatta capped off a weird third period by scoring the go-ahead goal with 1:33 to play. Earlier in the period, the Blue Jackets pulled even twice on goals Dubois and Cameron Gaunce. Matiss Kivlenieks played the third period for Columbus and was beaten twice.

It's a quick turnaround for the Blue Jackets, who play twice more this weekend: tomorrow night in Chicago and Sunday afternoon against the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena.


  • Pierre-Luc DuGood: After playing center with Artemi Panarin and Nick Foligno on Tuesday night, Dubois lined up on the wing tonight with Lukas Sedlak at center and Foligno on the right side. Dubois looked comfortable, strong and assertive in this game and that's without mentioning the two goals he scored. The first was a long-range wrister that Niemi couldn't pick up, and the second was a tight-angle jam job that beat Niemi inside the post on the short side. So far, so good in this camp for Dubois and he's seen time with quality line mates at two different positions. Yes, it's early and the lineups aren't that great, but he's looked like a player who is ready to make the jump.
  • Getting in Rhythm: The Blue Jackets probably don't need to see much of Bobrovsky in the preseason, but getting him into a game at this point in camp makes sense. He's practiced for a week, has recovered from some of the testing and needs to get his game up to speed with opening night two weeks away. He looked sharp at times tonight and had some iffy moments, including the second Pittsburgh goal that he appeared to have under control, only to see it squeeze under his pad and into the net. Overall, it was about what you'd expect from Bobrovsky in his first game since April.
  • Always Sonny: It took a little while for Milano to get warmed up tonight, but once he did, the Blue Jackets were going along pretty well (especially in the third period). He was noticeable tracking back to disrupt breakouts and made a few crisp plays exiting the zone, but what stood out most of all was his pass across the crease to set up Cameron Gaunce in the third period. Milano, in heavy traffic around the hashmarks, zipped a pass through the seam to Gaunce which resulted in the 2-2 goal. Tonight, there were flashes of the Sonny Milano the Blue Jackets want to see full-time.

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