|Duclair hopes to continue hot start as Bllue Jackets host Blackhawks|
The Columbus Blue Jackets' offseason move that received the most attention was the addition of center Riley Nash. Not much attention was paid to the acquisition of Anthony Duclair.
But Duclair is making people stand up and take notice on the ice in his first season in Columbus. He certainly attracted plenty of attention with his goal in the Blue Jackets' 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night that set social media abuzz and made all the highlight shows.
At 17:53 of the first period, Duclair skated down the ice to the right dot after taking a pass from defenseman Ryan Murray. Duclair lost an edge while making a cut and, while on his knees, gathered the puck, got back up, fell again after he was tripped, but was able to shoot the puck past Flyers goaltender Calvin Pickard for his second goal of the season.
"It was a nice goal. I don't know how he did it," Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois said. "I don't think he could do it again, but if he could, it would be great for us and great for the fans. That was an amazing goal. I've never seen a goal like that in my life."
"I was pretty lucky," Duclair said.
Duclair will put his skills on display again Saturday night when the Blue Jackets (4-2-0) and the 23-year-old winger face the Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-2), one of the two teams he was with last season, at Nationwide Arena.
After signing a one-year, free agent contract with the Blue Jackets on July 4, Duclair made the opening day roster and so far, has seized upon the chance to play mostly on a line with center Alexander Wennberg and winger Nick Foligno.
Duclair has four points (two goals, two assists) in six games after producing eight points in 23 games with the Blackhawks last year before he was sent to the Arizona Coyotes.
"I'm getting an opportunity to play with (Wennberg) and (Foligno) here," Duclair said. "I definitely want to stay with those two guys. They're very skilled, very smart. We complement each other well."
Cam Atkinson scored two goals in the win over the Flyers. He's tied with Josh Anderson for the team lead with four goals. Artemi Panarin, also a former Blackhawks player, had two assists to boost his team-best point total to nine (three goals, six assists).
The Blue Jackets scored three goals in the second period after falling behind in the first.
"We got out legs under us after the first period and started playing our game, our style in the second and third periods," Atkinson said.
The Blue Jackets rebounded from a humbling 8-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. They've scored at least five goals for the third time in their last four games.
"We have a lot of things to iron out and it's not going to happen overnight," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We're not going to go into any panic mode. We're going to go about our business and try to get better each day."
The Blackhawks had scored at least three goals in each of their first five games, all of those in overtime, before losing 4-1 at home on Thursday night to the Arizona Coyotes.
Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat have contributed points in each of Chicago's first six games. Eight Blackhawks players each have four points or more.
Chicago's trip to Columbus is in the midst of a stretch of three games in four days. The Blackhawks will return home to face the Lightning on Sunday.
Corey Crawford is slated to make his second straight start in goal for the Blackhawks after appearing for the first time since December 2017 in the loss to the Coyotes. He finished with 27 saves in a losing effort.
"I think the most important thing is just to get back to playing and winning hockey games," Crawford said. "It's another game. Just trying to get back to the routine."
"It's just a matter of getting more games to shake off the rust" he said.
"I think the more you play and the more you get into games, the little details are what make a big difference," Crawford said. "The more games I play it's going to feel better. I've just got to work hard and make sure I'm in the right spot to give myself the best chance to make saves."
One of Crawford's best stops against Arizona came on a third-period breakaway.
"I thought he was unreal," Toews said. "Stopped a couple breakaways, though we just kept testing him with those tough ones. It's almost to be expected. He comes in, so confident and relaxed and just plays hockey."
Defenseman Brandon Davidson is expected to make his regular-season Blackhawks debut in the third defensive pairing with Jan Rutta. The 27-year-old, who made the team on a professional trying during the preseason, has played in the NHL with the Montreal Canadians, Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders.
Davidson will replace Brandon Manning.