After an early season run featuring fewer shots but more goals, tonight’s game followed this week’s new script: Columbus outshoots the opponent, but comes out emptyhanded in the goal department. The Blue Jackets consistently got chances, but Roberto Luongo had a great night for Florida.
Florida struck first in the opening period, with ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scoring off a pass from Aleksander Barkov. To give a perspective on how nuts it is that Jagr is still playing, and doing so at a high level: 12 of the Jackets who played tonight were born after Jagr made his NHL debut in 1990.
The second period was scoreless for both teams, but featured consistent pressure from the Jackets. At least it wasn’t another disastrous second period like we’ve had recently.
With 8 minutes remaining in the third, Brandon Saad evened things up with a beautiful spinning backhand. It was a low percentage shot that should not have gone in, but I’d like to think it makes up for all the quality shots that did NOT go in earlier.
A late Columbus flurry was not able to break the tie and this game went to an extra period. Both goalies stood tall and so Columbus entered their first shootout of the season.
As expected, Sam Gagner led things off, but lost control and his shot went wide. Vincent Trocheck and Cam Atkinson were each stuffed before Barkov beat Bob high. Alexander Wennberg went third - despite my objections (why not a better scorer like Saad?) - and was stuffed by Luongo to seal the victory for the Panthers.
While we all hoped for a win, I can’t complain about earning a point on the road against a good team. Starting with last Friday’s game against the Rangers, the Blue Jackets played 6 games in 9 days. In that span they went 3-1-2, including a 2-0-1 record on the road. I’ll take it.
Columbus Three Stars:
Brandon Saad - scored the tying goal that earned us a point
Sergei Bobrovsky - made some great saves against flurries of Florida shots
David Savard - I like the way he’s been playing lately. He’s earning his contract now as a solid second pairing defenseman. He’s moving the puck very well.
Next up: Columbus gets two days off for the first time in over a week then hosts Tampa Bay on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.