DETROIT (WCMH) — The Blue Jackets experienced their first taste of success in the new season Monday, and forward Oliver Bjorkstrand experienced a bigger taste than most.
Alexandre Texier and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored a little over a minute apart in the third period, and the Blue Jackets went on to win their first game, 3-2 over the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. Bjorkstrand finished with a goal, an assist and a five-minute major penalty for fighting — known in hockey as a Gordie Howe hat trick.
The Blue Jackets and Red Wings play again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and then the Jackets play their first home game of the season at 7 p.m. Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Team officials have yet to receive approval to have fans at games at Nationwide Arena.
The Red Wings struck first, scoring off a faceoff at 13:02 of the first period. Bobby Ryan collected the puck after Michael Rasmussen won the faceoff and shot immediately at goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who was caught off-guard.
Jackets defenseman Seth Jones was awarded a penalty shot at 9:36 of the first after being hooked on a breakaway, but he was unable to get off a clean attempt. Jones finished with six shots on goal. Also in the first, Eric Robinson missed the net on a breakaway, and Boone Jenner hit the crossbar on a feed from Dean Kukan.
The Blue Jackets got back a goal at 4:49 of second period. Bjorkstrand collected the rebound after Jenner missed and shot the puck past Red Wings goalie Thomas Greiss for his first goal of the season.
Michael Del Zotto had the other assist on Bjorkstrand’s goal, giving him three points in three games. Korpisalo kept the Red Wings at bay in the second, making 24 of his 37 saves.
Texier put the Blue Jackets ahead at 14:50 of the third on a wraparound goal, giving him two goals and three points for the season. Bjorkstrand received an assist.
A little over a minute later, Dubois scored on a breakaway. The sequence started when Mikhail Grigorenko pulled away the puck before Korpisalo could cover it on the other end, launching Dubois for his first goal of the season.
David Savard nearly scored into an empty net late before his shot was knocked away.
Ryan was credited with a second goal for the Red Wings in the final minute. The attempt sparked several shoving matches and questions whether a Detroit or Columbus player knocked Korpisalo out of position and prevented him from attempting to make a save.
The goal was upheld upon review, and five-minute major penalties were given to Bjorkstrand and Zach Werenski of the Jackets and Ryan and Dylan Larkin of the Red Wings.
The Blue Jackets killed off penalties both times the Red Wings went on the power play — to improve to 8 of 8 for the season — and they had no power-play opportunities themselves. Greiss made 29 saves for the Red Wings, who had split their first two games.
The game was scheduled as a matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Blue Jackets wore a decal on the backs of their helmets in honor of King.