Vermette, Brassard lead Jackets past Malmo
-- Antoine Vermette
scored a pair of goals and Derick Brassard
had 2 assists as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Malmo Redhawks, 4-1, in a 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere series game.
The game was the last for the Blue Jackets prior to Friday's regular-season opener in Stockholm against the San Jose Sharks (3 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN).
Tuesday's game wasn't as tough an experience for the visiting NHL club as some others have faced. Malmo is in the middle of a rough stretch in their domestic league and decided to rest some of their veteran players. Instead, they had 10 players under age 20 in the lineup against the Blue Jackets.
The Redhawks play in the second-tier Allsvenskan league, one level below the Swedish Elite League.
The local paper calls the young players Babyhawks, but even baby hawks have claws. Especially early in the game, as during the first 10 minutes their quick forwards left the Blue Jackets' defensemen flat-footed on a few occasions. However, they couldn't capitalize on their chances.
Columbus worked its way into the game, thanks to a couple of Redhawks penalties. Malmo killed off the first penalty, but when they found themselves down a skater just 25 seconds later, they knew they were in trouble. Brassard found Vermette wide open in the slot, and he beat Malmo's 19-year-old backup goalie, Jonathan Bjuro, with a slap shot to the short side.
Just 17 seconds into the second period, Vermette scored his second, off a nice feed from Rick Nash
from the right wall. Vermette, who had 6 points in the five previous preseason games, beat Bjuro with a wrist shot that was deflected into the net off a Malmo defenseman.
That seemed to deflate the Swedes. Jakub Voracek
made it 3-0 with a wraparound at 8:49 of the second period, and Mike Commodore
pushed it to 4-0 with a one-timer from the slot six minutes later. Brassard picked up an assist on the Commodore goal.
Three minutes into the third period, the home crowd -- as well as the Blue Jackets -- got to hear a familiar tune, as the speakers blasted out the Redhawks' goal song -- "Chelsea Dagger" by the Fratellis, which also is used by the Jackets' Central Division foe, the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Robin Alvarez deflected Tomas Larsson's shot from the blue line, beating Mathieu Garon
high on the stick side for a power-play score.
Garon had replaced Steve Mason
in the Blue Jackets' net halfway through the game.