I-71 Report: The Season Continues


The regular season may have come to an end for the National and American Hockey Leagues, but I-71 still see frequent use with both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Monsters in the playoffs.

A factor in both team’s playoff races came in the form of 19-year-old Alexandre Texier. Before assignment to the Cleveland Monsters on March 15, Texier finished his season with KalPa in Finland’s top professional league, Liiga. After tallying seven points (5G, 2A) in seven games with the Monsters, the Blue Jackets called Texier up to Columbus on April 4.

The forward from Grenoble, France, made his NHL debut a day later, suiting up in New York City against the Rangers and helping Columbus clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. Texier took three shots during his 15 shifts and totaling just under 12 minutes of ice time.

On April 6 in Ottawa, Texier scored his first NHL goal against the Senators finishing the night with a plus-3 rating over 17 shifts throughout almost 14 minutes of playing.

Continuing his success, Texier made his NHL Playoff debut in Tampa Bay on April 10. The forward finally played his first career game in Columbus on April 14 when the Blue Jackets took a 3-0 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning and scored his first two Stanley Cup Playoff goals in Game 4 to complete Columbus' historic series sweep. 

Adam Clendening has also been an important piece for both clubs during the last month, with the most recent of multiple NHL recalls coming on April 11. During his time in the AHL the defenseman contributed five assists a plus-5 rating to help with the end-of-season push for Calder Cup Playoffs.

Consistent success with the Monsters led to Clendening's latest NHL recall and his first career NHL Playoff appearance on April 14, totaling 12 shifts and three shots.

The Blue Jackets called up Monsters’ regular season point-leader, Zac Dalpe, on April 14 for his second trip to Columbus this year. The veteran forward had 55 points (33G, 22A) over 55 games this year and set multiple franchise records including most goals scored in a single season.

Dalpe previously appeared in the Blue Jackets’ November 15 game against the Florida Panthers where he had one assist and one shot to finish with a plus-1 rating during his 16 shifts. The center was assigned back to Cleveland on April 17.

The Blue Jackets wrapped up a series sweep of Tampa Bay in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Monsters gear up to take on the Lightning's AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, in Round 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Cleveland opens up the series in Syracuse on Friday, April 19 at 7:00 PM.