Last night was a big night for Ohio sports. The Cleveland Indians won Game 1 of the World Series at home, while across Gateway Plaza the Cleveland Cavaliers opened their season with a win in defense of their NBA title. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Monsters put up a massive 7-3 win over the Iowa Wild in their first road game of the season. After all that, there was one more game to be played, with the Columbus Blue Jackets playing the Los Angeles Kings after many of you had gone to bed.
The first period was fairly uneventful, which is good because I was still watching baseball at that point. The Kings outshot the Jackets 11-6 and Columbus stayed in the game thanks to saves like this from Sergei Bobrovsky:
Columbus drew first blood early in the second period. David Savard forced a turnover in the neutral zone, which Nick Foligno was able to corral and pass to a streaking Brandon Saad, who snapped it past Peter Budaj.
After that, Los Angeles regained control of play, and at the 13:40 mark, Anze Kopitar made a nifty move behind the net, passed to Tom Gilbert at the point, then received Gilbert’s pass at the faceoff dot where he wristed it past Bob.
At 14:31, the first penalty of the game was called against Dustin Brown. The Jackets took advantage with their 5th power play goal of the year (in 10 chances). Credit to Sam Gagner for a great pass which Cam Atkinson was easily able to put in the net.
Just a minute later Josh Anderson was sent off for holding. The Jackets’ PK unit once again came through and did not allow a single shot during that power play. For those keeping track, Columbus has only allowed 1 power play goal in 17 kill opportunities. Wow.
The third period featured the Jackets on their heels. No consistent attack was created. With 6 minutes remaining in the game, Drew Doughty hit a snap shot that bounced over Bob’s pad. This was a goal that Bob would want back. Really should have been stopped.
To their credit, the Jackets stepped up after this and improved their offensive attack in the final minutes. Alas, it fell short and this game went into overtime.
This was the first OT appearance for Columbus, but the third straight OT game for Los Angeles (both wins for the Kings). That experience was evident as the Kings were able to end this game with merciful quickness. The 3 on 3 unit of Seth Jones, Alexander Wennberg, and Brandon Saad (which I really like as a combo in this scenario) were on the attack at the end of a 1:14 shift for Jones (0:50 for Wennberg and Saad). Jones tried to find Saad but his pass missed the mark. As is inevitable in a 3 on 3 situation, the Kings capitalized on this turnover, turning it into a 3 on 2 breakaway. Tanner Pearson unloaded a slap shot at Bob, and Alec Martinez followed to hammer home the rebound into a wide open net
For those of you who were wanting to see Columbus roll 4 lines: the least used forward was Lukas Sedlak with 11:55. Wennberg led forwards with 18:02. Torts appears to have found four line combinations that he trusts.
Can’t complain about getting a point on the road. I think it would be reasonable to say that 4 points on this 4 game road trip would be an acceptable result. We’re sitting on 3 points after 2 games, with 2 left to play.
Once again, the effort was inconsistent over the course of the game. We’ve yet to see the Jackets play a full 60 minute game. The Kopitar goal seemed all too familiar, with Columbus surrendering a response goal so soon after taking the lead.
While the road point is nice, it hurts to know that we blew two different one goal leads in this game. A 2 point road result would have been better, as would a 3 game win streak.
Columbus moves up the coast to San Jose to take on the Sharks (didn’t we just play them?) on Thursday night, again at 10:30 p.m.