The Columbus Blue Jackets came from behind to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, Monday night (Nov. 15) at Nationwide Arena. Zach Werenski provided the go-ahead goal with 1:19 remaining, and Alexandre Texier iced it with an empty-net goal in the closing seconds. The Blue Jackets are now 8-5-0 this season, while the Red Wings fell to 8-7-2. Here are three takeaways from a fun night in Columbus.
Blue Jackets Night of Milestones
Several Blue Jackets reached milestones last night. Justin Danforth, a 28-year-old forward who signed with Columbus in May after three years in Finland and Russia, made his NHL debut, recording two shots and a team-high six hits in 7:23 of ice time. Adam Boqvist, acquired from Chicago in the Seth Jones deal, scored his first goal for the club, burying a rebound 13:07 into the second period to tie the game at two. It was Boqvist’s first game since Oct. 23, after dealing with an upper-body injury.
While Danforth logged his first game in the league last night, Texier reached the century mark. The 45th-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft played his 100th career NHL game, extending his point streak to four games with the empty-net goal. Rookie Yegor Chinakhov also reached a milestone, finally getting his first NHL goal.
Chinakhov Breaks Through
Yegor Chinakhov, the 21st-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, got a breakaway thanks to a nice pass from fellow rookie Cole Sillinger and took advantage, going through the five-hole of Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss to tie the game at three 15:42 into the third period. He followed up his first in the NHL with a stylish stick twirl celebration before jumping into Sillinger’s arms and falling to the ice.
Chinakhov has been aggressive and has had some good looks, so it was only a matter of time before he got his first goal, and it couldn’t have come at a much better time. “He’s had a lot of chances,” Boqvist said in the postgame press conference. “Good to see for that guy, he’s working hard every day. He has a pretty good shot as well, so it’s nice to see him get it out of the way. When he saw it go in, the fans went crazy.”
Good job.— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 16, 2021
Good goal next. pic.twitter.com/dGawuAMXA6
The Blue Jackets have a tradition of giving out a kepi (a military hat) to the player of the game in the locker room after a game. Chinakhov earned it after their win over Detroit, and as they usually do when the player receives the kepi, many of the players chanted, “Speech! Speech! Speech!” The 20-year-old Russian’s speech was short but sweet.
The Columbus Comeback Kids
The Red Wings opened the scoring 14:45 into the first period when Dylan Larkin cleaned up a rebound in front of the net. Michael Rasmussen added another 4:23 into the second period on a long shot that got past Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins. The Blue Jackets got one back 13:07 into the second when Boone Jenner got a rebound past Greiss. Boqvist made it a 2-2 game less than two minutes later.
Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond put Detroit back up 13:31 into the third period, getting a point-blank shot past Merzlikins. Chinakhov responded just over a minute later, and Werenski broke the tie with a one-timer from the point. Texier put the icing on the cake with three seconds remaining.
It was Columbus’ sixth comeback win this season and the second time they won a game with just over a minute remaining (Sillinger scored the go-ahead goal with 1:02 remaining in a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 6). The team’s effort and persistence early this season are encouraging.
Though a rookie was the story of the night, the veterans also chipped in for the Blue Jackets. Gustav Nyquist had two assists on the night, and Jakub Voracek added an assist, extending his point streak to six games. The Jackets travel to Arizona to play the Coyotes (1-13-1) on Thursday night.
Grant is a freelance writer covering the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets for THW. He started his own sports blog (Head in the Game) in 2013 and worked in the sports information department while at Trine University, from where he graduated in 2019. You can follow Grant on Twitter @G_Tingley.