The Blue Jackets returned home tonight, looking to continue their winning ways. Fresh off of a complete demolition of the Philadelphia Flyers, the team welcomed the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings into Nationwide Arena. Prior to the game, Coach Tortorella noted there would be no lineup changes- Dalton Prout drew in for Kevin Connauton, Ryan Johansen would continue playing with Brandon Dubinsky, and Brandon Saad remained on the 4th line. Off we go.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
The starters tonight were Alexander Wennberg, Scott Hartnell, and Nick Foligno. After their performance Saturday, it’s hard to disagree with the move to get those guys some early ice time.
Boos for Jeff Carter when he took the ice. Columbus fans still don’t like him, it appears.
Early pressure belonged to the Kings. An offside call, early turnovers, and some lax defensive plays meant the first 5 minutes were spent primarily in the defensive zone.
David Savard had an excellent early shift- a shot on goal, another one looking for a tip, and a heavy hit laid on Tanner Pearson, much to the delight of the crowd.
It took 2 or 3 minutes, but the Jackets found their legs early tonight, a welcome sign. They were not skated off the ice by the Kings.
CHANCE! Nick Foligno set up Alexander Wennberg with a stellar feed, but he just could not play it. Wennberg has struggled in the offensive zone this season, and with an open net missed, his frustrations can only be adding up.
Power play for the Kings at 9:21 of the period. After a high hit on Brandon Saad by Christian Ehrhoff, Gregory Campbell came to Saad’s defense, earning a minor penalty for roughing. The Blue Jackets killed the penalty, surrendering 3 shots on goal.
The first 15 minutes of the game were pretty open. There weren’t an overwhelming number of whistles, so there was some good end to end action, with both teams having solid possession and some good chances. Both goaltenders were up to the task early.
Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp in this period. It was nice to see the broadcast acknowledge it, as Jody Shelley was breaking down one of his saves, one that went off his shoulder. As Dan P. noted yesterday, Sergei Bobrovsky has returned to form after a rough start to this season.
Brandon Saad did not stay on the 4th line for very long. Late in the period, he was moved to a line with William Karlsson and Boone Jenner.
Dalton Prout had one of his better periods of the season. Tough, physical defense, and no poor plays or turnovers in the defensive zone.
At the end of the period, Bobrovsky lost his stick in a scramble in front of his net. Thanks to some help from David Savard, Bobrovsky was able to recover his stick, and a minor crisis was averted.
At the end of one period, the score was 0-0. Los Angeles outshot Columbus 7-5 in the frame.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
An early play from the corner from Saad allowed Dalton Prout to one time a shot from the blue line. Jonathan Quick was equal to the task.
At the 2:10 mark, Scott Hartnell found Nick Foligno with a nice feed in front of the net
Power play! At the 2:20 mark, Derek Forbort took a penalty for holding. The Jackets were heading to their first power play of the night.
POWER PLAY GOAL! Scott Hartnell at 2:32! Off a set play from the faceoff, Ryan Johansen found Foligno behind the net. Foligno passed the puck quickly to Scott Hartnell, who wasted no time burying his 11th of the season.
Early in the second, the Torts Line Blender went to work. Brandon Saad was moved to the third line, with Matt Calvert and William Karlsson. The fourth line was made up of Gregory Campbell, Boone Jenner, and Michael Chaput.
Power play for the Kings at 6:45. Andrew Bodnarchuk took a penalty for high sticking Tanner Pearson. Early on in the power play, Bobrovsky made two outstanding saves on Tyler Toffoli, following a quick zone entrance led by Marian Gaborik.
CHANCE! Sprung on a shorthanded breakaway, Ryan Johansen used some fancy stick work to get around Drew Doughty. Unfortunately, he sent the puck just high over the net.
As the Jackets successfully killed their second penalty of the night, there was a nervy moment where fans held their breath. After blocking a shot, Ryan Murray was laboring, unable to stand on the ice. Given his injury history, one couldn’t help but fear the worst. Thankfully, all the trouble amounted to was a broken skate blade as a result of the block. He had it fixed on the bench, and missed no time.
The penalty seemed to energize the Kings, who pressured hard. As the broadcast went to commercial at the 12:22 mark, Columbus had not registered a shot on goal since Hartnell lit the lamp earlier in the period.
During the TV timeout, Coach Tortorella rallied the troops, in an attempt to get the momentum back. The Kings continued pressing after the timeout, but Bobrovsky stood tall.
CHANCE! At the 13:30 mark, Nick Foligno threw the puck on net, and Wennberg was on the doorstep to attempt to hammer home the rebound. Quick was again up to the task, however, keeping Wennberg from finding the back of the net.
GOAL! Despite being outshot 12-5 in the second period, Matt Calvert scores and puts the team up 2-0 at 14:07. Quick got a piece of the shot, but it skipped into the net. Assists on the goal go to Brandon Saad and Ryan Murray. It should be noted how spectacular the pass from Saad was. He may not be finding the net himself, but he’s too good to keep off the scoresheet.
LA Kings goal at 17:38. After a neutral zone turnover where the Kings were able to change and Columbus was caught out on a long shift, Christian Ehrhoff put the Kings on the board off of a one timer. That will not be a goal Torts is okay with giving up late in the period. The goal was unassisted.
Power play! Milan Lucic took a penalty at 1:07 for tripping Brandon Dubinsky.
The period ended with the Blue Jackets leading 2-1, despite being outshot 23-11.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS
Columbus opened the third period with 1:08 of power play time.
Penalty to Columbus. Jeff Carter got behind the defense shorthanded at 0:44 of the third period, and drew a slashing penalty from Ryan Murray. After a few seconds of 4 on 4, the Kings had 1:30 of power play time. The Blue Jackets successfully killed their third penalty of the evening.
The Kings pressured hard in the first 5 minutes of the period. Ryan Johansen had a bad turnover in the defensive zone in front of the crease, but made up for it with a solid back check a few seconds later to clear the zone after a long shift in the defensive zone.
The Blue Jackets were unable to get anything going early in the period. Little possession and no time in the offensive zone led to some long faces on the Columbus bench.
Wennberg and Calvert combined for a couple chances at 6:30, but Quick was able to parry their efforts. At this point, however, any relief for Bob and sustained offensive zone time was welcome.
Following some hard work by Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell had a quick shot saved by Quick, as Foligno and Karlsson were hunting for the rebound.
Kings chance! After Savard pinched in to help in the offensive zone, Toffoli had a break down the left hand side, and dropped the puck to Jeff Carter. Carter found a streaking and uncovered Alec Martinez, who hit the post with his shot.
Jackets chance! From point blank range, Quick denied Karlsson at 10:20.
Jackets chance! A glorious scoring opportunity for the Blue Jackets is denied when, following a Ryan Johansen rebound, Brandon Dubinsky hit the far post. The game remained 2-1 Columbus at the 12:00 mark.
Ryan Johansen is good, in case anyone forgot. At 13:30, Johansen absolutely undressed a Kings defender, and threw his shot just wide after a spin move. It would have been a goal of the year candidate had it gone it.
At 14:25, the trainer came out to talk to Sergei Bobrovsky, and Bob came out. Curtis McElhinney came in with 5:35 to go, and Bobrovsky went straight to the dressing room. Here’s hoping Bob is okay.
Jeff Carter hit the post shortly after Curtis McElhinney came into the game.
As one might expect following an injury of such significance, the Kings pressed hard for an equalizer, maintaining nearly all possession for the following 4 minutes after Curtis McElhinney entered the game. C-Mac and the defense held until a faceoff with just under 2 minutes to go.
Kings goal. With 1:48 to go, the Kings pulled Quick searching for an equalizer, and with 1:27 to go, Jeff Carter found it.
Columbus worked to find the go ahead goal, but it wasn’t meant to be. For the second time in two home games, the Blue Jackets were heading to overtime.
BONUS HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS
Cam Atkinson, Dubinsky, and Jack Johnson started the overtime for Columbus.
Following a mess of a neutral zone possession, Jeff Carter got in absolutely by himself on C-Mac. Carter, however, saw his effort roofed over the net.
Seconds later, Brandon Saad saw an effort saved by Quick.
After a long period in the offensive zone, and a breakdown, Dustin Brown exploited the mistake and found Alec Martinez, who put the game away with 26.3 seconds to go in overtime.
FINAL: Los Angeles Kings 3 Columbus Blue Jackets 2
*** Jeff Carter
** Alec Martinez
* Sergei Bobrovsky
Sergei Bobrovsky was outstanding tonight, until he was forced to leave the game. Through 2 periods, he was without a doubt the best player on the ice. It cannot be overstated that this club goes as Bob goes. Hopefully whatever ails him is not serious, and the team
It’s clear that, while a solid team when healthy and motivated, the Blue Jackets are a team that lacks the extra gear. We saw it against Montreal, when San Jose came to town, and we saw it tonight against Los Angeles. There are moments in the game where the opposition lifts their play and runs roughshod over the Jackets. The hometown boys haven’t shown an ability to do that, for whatever reason.
Solid game from Dalton Prout, without a doubt his best of the season. Hopefully he gets untracked and builds some confidence from the last two nights.
The lack of possession and ability to generate offensive pressure to take the heat off of the defense and a cold goaltender ultimately doomed the team. This has been a theme all season, and it is an issue Tortorella needs to get fixed.
The slow start did not put the team in an insurmountable hole, but the Blue Jackets need to work on coming out of the gate stronger. The Kings had traveled across the country, and were weary, and the Blue Jackets did not attempt to take advantage of that early in the game.
Columbus travels to Winnipeg on Thursday to take on the Jets. Faceoff is at 8 PM EST.