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Blue Jackets, Kraken both battling frustration headed into matchup

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When your team is struggling to score goals, even the slightest mistake gets amplified.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken, who will meet Saturday night at the expansion team’s Climate Pledge Arena, can certainly relate.

The Blue Jackets will be looking to snap a five-game road slide in the opener of their five-game trip that will also take them to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Buffalo.

Columbus suffered a 2-1 shootout defeat Thursday against visiting Anaheim.

Alexandre Texier scored and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 25 shots for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the sixth time in their past seven games overall.

Texier also got an attempt in the shootout but fired wide with what he later realized was a broken stick.

“I couldn’t shoot, but I didn’t know (the stick was broken),” he said. “That’s how it is. You have to know that before.”

With the score tied early in the second period, Zach Werenski appeared to put the Blue Jackets ahead but his goal was waved off following a video review because of an offside call.

“We deserved to win that game. That was our game,” Werenski told Bally Sports Ohio. “… If we go even longer in overtime, we probably win that game.”

It was the fifth time in the past eight games the Blue Jackets have had a goal overturned by a video review.

“These guys are NHL players. I think they understand the rule. They just have to apply it,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said of the offside call. “We ran into a pretty good goalie, and we had some good looks. “There are going to be tight games. We’ve got to try and find a way to squeak out that other point, but the effort was good.”

The Kraken returned home this week after their best stretch of the season — a 5-1-1 run with victories against the likes of Washington, Carolina, Florida and Edmonton and the lone regulation loss coming to two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay.

But they were blown out 6-1 by Pittsburgh on Monday and couldn’t solve Connor Hellebuyck in a 3-0 loss Thursday.

“We should all be a little frustrated when we lose games,” said Kraken captain Mark Giordano, who returned Thursday after spending 10 days in quarantine in a Tampa-area hotel room after testing positive for COVID-19. “But there is no lack of work effort from our team.”

The frustration was evident late in the second period when Jordan Eberle made a nifty pass to Jaden Schwartz but he couldn’t steer the puck into the net. Eberle slammed his stick on the ice and Schwartz broke his over his knee just before he got to the bench.

“I thought they were good tonight early on,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “They were there on top of us with good sticks. That’s a combination of play on our part and good play, pressure, and good sticks on their part. The difference in the first 30 minutes was we had one turnover that ended up in the back of our net. We had the better chances in the second period, but we couldn’t find the back of the net.”

The Kraken will be without forward Colin Blackwell (COVID-19 protocol) on Saturday. Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury midway through the second period and did not return. He was placed on injured reserve Friday.

This will be the second meeting between the teams. Columbus won 2-1 at home on Oct. 16.

–Field Level Media

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