After all the pain of the season to date, it's somehow fitting that a clock "issue" factors into the Jackets officially being knocked out of the playoff chase.
After getting contributions from the third and fourth lines to bring the team back into a 2-2 tie with the Los Angeles Kings, the team was killing a late penalty on Samuel Pahlsson when Drew Doughty scored with less than a second left to win it in regulation.
Except....well, let me show you:
The clock "pauses" for over a second despite play continuing, as if there had been a whistle, then suddenly jumps back to life when the game clock operator realized what was going on.
So what we're saying is...that goal shouldn't have counted. It should have been disallowed due to time, and the game at least continued on to OT. In fact, the ref ruled no-goal on the ice before it was overturned by the war room.
C'est la saison.
This is not to say, however, that the Jackets didn't partially earn their fate. For much of the game, the Kings controlled the pace of the game, heavily outshooting the visiting Jackets, while the reshuffled lines (not to mention the absence of Ryan Johansen, Marc Methot, and Nikita Nikitin) did no favors.
Columbus mustered just 22 shots against Jonathan Quick, and even if they put a pair past him, that's not much of a workload for one of the NHL's leading goaltenders. Need we mention that the Jackets' power play also came up dry on their three opportunities (including a chance to take the lead in the third), while LA converted twice on the man advantage?
Curtis Sanford couldn't do much on the Williams PP goal in the first, which was a wrist shot from a tough angle, but the Dustin Penner goal was another "did it to ourselves" moment, with R.J. Umberger turning the puck over at his own blue line only to see Penner walk in and beat Sanford.
Credit where due - the Derek Dorsett goal to tie the game early in the second period was a great case of second, third, and fourth efforts by Dorse, Derick Brassard, Vinny Prospal, and even Aaron Johnson for making a nice keep-in move at the blue line. Colton Gillies' first goal as a Blue Jacket came off a beautiful pass by Antoine Vermette that he one-timed past Quick.
But I can't help but feel that despite the frustration of the Doughty goal and the "clock issue", the Jackets could have won this game for themselves if they'd seized their opportunities.
- Derek Dorsett - Leading the forwards in ice time, Dorsett needs one more goal to join the "10 goals and 100+ PIM" club.
- Colton Gillies - Congrats on your first goal of the season, as a Jacket or otherwise
- Curtis Sanford - Frustrating as the final goal was, Sanford stopped 30 of 33 shots in "regulation" and gave the team a decent chance to win.
Bottom Of The Barrel:
- The War Room / Timekeepers - Because, well, yeah.
- Special Teams - Columbus lost this game on the weakness of the PP and the failure of the PK more than anything else.
- R.J. Umberger - What's worse, giving up a complete gaffe of a turnover, or giving it up to Mr. "I like pancakes" and watching him score?
The final game of this West coast trip of shame comes Friday in Anaheim. Seems like a decent chance that Methot and Johansen will be back in the lineup, while Nikitin and Jeff Carter are "possible" depending on their injury status. Here's hoping.