Finland money

The Blue Jackets abandon their first game in Finland

It took two years of preparation. The Columbus Blue Jackets finally traveled to Finland for their Global Series games in Tampere. Their opponent was the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. The Finns in the crowd were worried about their local hero Patrik Laine and fellow countrymen Mikko Rantanen, Artturi Lehkonen and Joonas Korpisalo. Game 1 of the series was not without excitement and the crowd got their money’s worth. Here is what happened.

1st period

The Avs struck early in the run. A centering pass from Newhook on a 3-on-2 run found O’Connor in the slot, who tore a wrist past Merzlikins.

Goal COL 1-0: O’Connor (Newhook, Johnson) 1:36

Colorado continued to control play after the goal. The Jackets struggled to get the puck in the zone and get quality shots.

Gavrikov was sent off for interference midway through the period. Cogliano was slow to recover after Gavrikov’s strike led to the penalty. The Avs, unlike the Jackets, were able to move the puck on the power play. Compher, left alone in front of Elvis, managed to deflect a point shot from Toews past the Columbus goaltender.

COL PP Goal 2-0: Compher (Toews, Girard) 12:27

Nyquist left for cutting shortly after the goal. Not exactly what you want to see straight after losing 2-0. The Jackets managed to kill that penalty.

Despite the two-goal deficit, Elvis looked ready and solid in net.

The Jackets had a chance to regain momentum when Rantanen went to the box for cutting. In true Blue Jacket fashion, the puck eventually made it over the goal line, but the goal was disallowed because Roslovic pushed the puck under the Colorado goaltender.

2nd period

Another early goal put the Jackets down 3-0. The Avs forecheck was all over the Jackets and forced them to cough up the puck. The swarm of maroon jerseys managed to get Elvis out of the net and Rantanen put the puck in the net.

Goal COL 3-0: Rantanen (Rodrigues, MacKinnon) 0:35

The Jackets returned to the power play right after the goal and the first power play goal of the season was the result. Just five seconds into the power play, Laine snatched a puck from above and a Voracek deflection found the back of the net. Relief.

CBJ PP Goal 3-1: Voracek (Laine, Werenski) 1:35

The power-play goal created momentum for the Jackets and the top line was able to circle the Avs in their own zone. On a delayed penalty, Laine received a pass from Gaudreau on the left point and managed to rip a five hole. A special moment for the hometown kid.

CBJ Goal 3-2: Laine (Gaudreau, Jenner) 7:16

The Avs struggled to regain possession and a few more quarterbacks stayed in their zone. A two-man penalty sent the Jackets on the power play and gave them a chance to tie the game. Both units generated good chances, but as the penalty ran out, Gaudreau would go into the box for holding.

The Avs didn’t have much on the powerplay and MacKinnon received a minor double as Nyquist went to net shorthanded. The first power play was killed without the Jackets being able to get in place. The penalty served in the second period continued when Gaudreau came out for a high stick, eliminating Columbus’ second penalty kill. The Jackets managed to kill that penalty late in the period.

3rd period

The Jackets managed to pick up where they left off in the second period. The fourth line cashed in when Robinson found Kuraly behind the net. Kuraly powered the puck past Georgiev to tie the game. Credit Foudy for his work in the neutral zone which led to the scoring chance. From what we’ve seen of him so far this season, he deserves to stay in the lineup. Foudy was initially credited with the goal, but it was later changed to Kuraly. It’s hard to believe, but Foudy is still looking for his first regular season NHL goal after scoring in the 2020 playoffs.

CBJ Goal 3-3: Kuraly (Foudy, Robinson) 2:32

Hunt was double-minored for high-sticking shortly after the goal. Aside from Gaudreau hitting the post, the Jackets struggled to prepare. Laine left for a cut with only seconds left in the second power play. The Avs were able to capitalize as Rantanen was able to get his second of the day.

COL PP Goal 4-3: Rantanen (Makar, MacKinnon) 8:54

With the new momentum, the Avs were able to kick into high gear. MacKinnon found Makar on point for the two-goal lead.

Goal COL 5-3: Makar (MacKinnon, Rantanen) 10:49

The Jackets didn’t have much for the Avs the rest of the way. In storybook fashion, Rantanen managed to score the empty-net goal for the hat-trick. What a cool moment for him.

COL FR Goal 6-3: Rantanen (MacKinnon, Toews) 18:56

Final Thoughts

The Jackets played a decent game, but it wasn’t good enough against a talented Avalanche team. The Avs controlled the game for long stretches, but so did the Jackets. The first 21 minutes were sloppy and that’s ultimately the difference in the game. If the Jackets can build on the positives of this game, they’ll start heading in the right direction. That’s easy to say, though, for the team that currently sits last in the NHL.

Rantanen was the first star of the game and it’s hard to be mad at that. Laine also netted a goal and an assist as the two put on a show for their country. The two Finns have combined four goals and two assists.

The result wasn’t what the Jackets wanted, but it was a fun game to watch. The crowd was clearly enjoying themselves and the game was entertaining. What a special night for the country of Finland and for the NHL. How about we start again on Saturday?

Next

The Jackets and Avalanche return from Tampere, Finland on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.