It’s late in the third period, in front of a packed house at Nationwide Arena. With 16.5 seconds left, the visiting team scores. Sounds familiar, right?
What are the odds that two games on back-to-back nights, both in Columbus, feature late goals at the same exact moment?
Fortunately for the boys in Union Blue, that 6-on-5 goal by Brayden Schenn was not a game winner. His goal merely matched the one goal the Blue Jackets had been defending for the second half of the game. Rather than costing a point, it just meant Columbus had to work harder for the second point.
Philadelphia thought they had struck first in this game. Two minutes into the first period, it appeared that the Andrew MacDonald had scored, but Columbus successfully challenged that there was goalie interference. Michael Raffl and Ryan Murray collided in front of the net, which sent Murray into Sergei Bobrovsky. It seemed to me that Murray may have initiated that contact, but it’s not clear.
Seven minutes into the second, Columbus drew first blood with a long slap shot from David Savard. William Karlsson fed him from behind the net. This play was challenged, as well. Josh Anderson clipped Steve Mason’s skate with his own, but the review concluded that it did not interfere with Mason’s ability to stop the shot.
From there things were fairly quiet. Both teams seemed a bit tentative, and both were showing the fatigue of being on the second leg of a back-to-back. After the game, John Tortorella said that it was like “getting blood from a rock” to get more out of his players. He knew they were trying hard, but he saw that they didn’t have as much to give.
After the aforementioned tying goal, the team had to use every last ounce of energy to earn that second goal, and the second point. The hero of the night was the goat from last night. Seth Jones had whiffed on a pass late in the third against the Rangers that led to their breakaway goal. Tonight, halfway through the overtime period Jones went to the ice in front of his goal to block a shot by former Jacket Jakub Voracek. Jones quickly got up and was able to recover his own rebound. Jones is one of the best/fastest skaters on the team and he quickly advanced the puck down the ice. Upon reaching the left faceoff circle, he pulled up and passed to a streaking Nick Foligno, who fired the puck past Mason for the win. It was a nice goal by Foligno, but Jones did so many good things in that sequence to make it happen.
The crowd of 17,962 was finally given something to cheer about, and were given the storybook ending they were deprived of on Saturday.
Bobrovsky had a typically strong game. Despite their continuing failure to score, the Dubinsky-Jenner pairing had a second consecutive night of strong play after being called out by Torts after Thursday’s loss.
With this win, Columbus becomes the first team this season to 60 points. They remain in first place in their division, conference, and the entire NHL.
Next up is their fourth straight Metro game, this time in Raleigh to face the Hurricanes.