I-71 Report: Next Man UpJan 9, 2020
A surprising amount of injuries kept I-71 busy for the Cleveland Monsters and Columbus Blue Jackets at the end of 2019, leaving the organization kicking off the New Year by showcasing an ability to adapt in tough situations.
As two of the first Monsters making their way to Columbus, forwards Marko Dano and Kevin Stenlund joined the NHL club on Dec. 15. Dano appeared in three games for the Blue Jackets averaging 7:10 time on ice before returning to the Monsters on Dec. 20.
Stenlund played in 12 games since earning his first recall of the season and quickly made an impact for Columbus by scoring his first NHL goal on Dec.17.
First goal first kepi pic.twitter.com/ZjDrPjDnoI— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 18, 2019
The Stockholm, Sweden native’s first goal helped lead the Blue Jackets to a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Stenlund added two more goals, including his most recent tally on Jan. 6 against the Los Angeles Kings, and averaged 14:24 time on ice.
Defenseman Gabriel Carlsson made the trip to Columbus shortly after on Dec. 19, also appearing against the LA Kings for 17 shifts on ice. Carlsson has appeared in six games for the Blue Jackets this season, totaling three shots on goal and averaging 11:06 time on ice.
Columbus additionally recalled forwards Jakob Lilja and Ryan MacInnis on Dec. 20 with both players appearing the following day against the New Jersey Devils. Lilja's return to Columbus was his first since beginning the season with the parent club.
Lilja notched his first North American tally on Dec. 27 against the Washington Capitals with his fellow callup, MacInnis, earning his first NHL assist.
Lilja earned a consistent spot in the lineup, skating in nine games since the recall with a plus-three rating on the ice. MacInnis appeared in seven of those games alongside Lilja with a plus-one rating to accompany his first NHL point.
Monsters co-captain Nathan Gerbe joined the Blue Jackets on Dec. 22 following additional team injuries. Gerbe quickly got t work, providing results the following day when the Blue Jackets visited the New York Islanders.
The veteran forward recorded his first NHL goal since March 10, 2016, in the Blue Jackets 3-2 victory over the Islanders and began to hit his stride.
The Oxford, MI, native has five points (3G, 2A) over nine games since joining Columbus at the end of December with a plus-three on ice rating.
The Monsters continue to adapt and look to build off their homestand sweep of the Milwaukee Admirals when they hit the road to face off against the Binghamton Devils on Friday at 7:05 p.m. to kick off a six-game, nine-day road trip.
Next up for the Blue Jackets, the West Coast road trip stops in Las Vegas for a Saturday battle against the Golden Knights at 10:00 PM ET.