You know the GIF everyone uses of Larry David to describe conflicting emotions? This one?
That’s how Columbus Blue Jackets may feel after Sunday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. One on hand, the CBJ forced overtime and at least secured a point in the second half of a back-to-back thanks to a Pierre-Luc Dubois goal with 32 seconds left in regulation. On the other hand, they went 0-for-6 on the power play and only tallied three shots in the first period. PLD did score twice...while taking three penalties of his own. Seth Jones picked up his first two assists of the year...yet another night of bupkis from Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson. Columbus killed all five Ducks penalties...but allowed Cam Fowler, who had all of zero goals this season coming into Sunday, to score a hat trick and snap a seven-game Anaheim losing streak.
The Blue Jackets’ third period goal to force overtime may serve as a bit of lipstick on a pig, impressive as it was with the extra attacker. All three of the game’s previous goals came in the second period until Columbus’s late-game desperation finally bore fruit with PLD knocking one past Gibson in a glorious net-front scramble:
If Columbus loses on Sunday in regulation, things definitely change. As it stands right now, things probably change. You can’t go 2-for-your-last-38 on the power play, take three points from a California road trip with one good team and two pretty bad ones, and feel like you’re an elite team that’s any closer to working it out than you were before.
The good: Points are important, and getting one on the road can pay important dividends down the line—especially battling back when your opponent hasn’t played since Thursday. The CBJ also generated more high-danger scoring chances (10-6) during 5-on-5 play and more scoring chances overall, according to Natural Stat Trick. Still, the Blue Jackets are 7-6-1 and the schedule’s about to get a lot harder.
Here’s what you need to know about the first period: The Blue Jackets registered three shots and committed two penalties. Pierre-Luc Dubois committed both of them (hooking and tripping). Columbus went on the power play twice and they scored zero times. They did ice the puck on the second one, though, and they didn’t allow any shorthanded goals, so that’s something.
One of the CBJ’s chances—the best one of the period—came from the stick of Zach Werenski, a trailing play that John Gibson managed to flail around and stop.
Pontus Åberg delivered the Ducks their best chance, a one-on-one scramble with Korpisalo. Åberg’s shot squirted through the pads of Korpisalo, but slid wide through the blue paint and missed the back of the net.
Korpisalo also bailed out the Jackets during Anaheim’s first power play, robbing Patrick Eaves in the slot.
The second period started in similar fashion to the first, with PLD slashing Adam Henrique for his third penalty of the game. Like the first, the Jackets were able to kill it with the help of Korpisalo. But! Upon the penalty’s expriation, PLD exited the box and took a Boone Jenner drop pass in the Anaheim zone, firing a shot through the five-hole of John Gibson to give the Jackets a 1-0 lead.
Blue Jackets 1, Ducks 0, 16:27 left in the second period
A Ryan Kesler post-whistle punch of David Savard gave the Blue Jackets their third power play…and it lasted all of 18 seconds before Josh Anderson went to the box for slashing. The slash did helped deny the Ducks a juicy shorthanded chance off the rush, but that’s not a ringing endorsement.
Anaheim managed to convert on the ensuing 4-on-4. Richard Rakell tried to dance through the CBJ defense—successfully deking past Ryan Murray—but lost control in front of the net. The loose puck slid past Markus Nutivaara and into open space for Cam Fowler, who slammed it past Korpisalo to tie the game at 1-1.
Blue Jackets 1, Ducks 1, 11:51 left in the second period
A back-and-forth run that saw big saves at both nets ended with a Jakob Silfverberg hook at the 12-minute mark, giving the Jackets another power play. The visitors created a few chances but registered zero shots on net (the several shots that did occur missed the mark), and an uncalled tripping penalty by the Ducks was the only event of note during the advantage.
The Jackets built some steam late in the period, getting deep in the Ducks end and creating havoc in the crease. Unfortunately for Columbus, that mojo evaporated when Cam Fowler scored his second of the game with a wrister from above the circles that glanced off the post and in for a 2-1 Anaheim lead.
Ducks 2, Blue Jackets 1, 1:34 left in the second period
Nick Foligno drew Hampus Lindholm into an inadvisable—and perhaps not all that egregious—interference penalty in the period’s final minute for the fifth CBJ power play of the night. Cam Atkinson found himself all alone in front, but his shot and the follow-up weren’t enough to beat Gibson and the Ducks headed into intermission ahead by a goal.
The third began with the Jackets unable to convert on the rest of the power play, though they received another one a few minutes later thanks to a Cam Fowler roughing call.
Columbus appeared to score with 49 seconds left on the power play, but a tripping call wiped out what would’ve been a Panarin goal. Alexander Wennberg tripped Larsson behind the net seconds before Panarin capitalized on a net-front pass from PLD. In the end, it was another CBJ power play undone by a CBJ miscue—this time, another penalty.
The penalty kill rose to the occasion and kept the Ducks off the board. For the next few minutes, chances came fast and furious with the Honda Center crowd roaring as Korpisalo fought off waves of Anaheim opportunities.
Dubois and Panarin found some space in the Anaheim end, each trying to skate past Duck defenders and throw pucks on net. A late push from the Ducks wouldn’t allow Korpisalo to leave the ice or the Blue Jackets to do much more than change, hampering the CBJ’s chances to even the score.
Columbus called a timeout at 1:20 that set up the final frantic minute and the Jackets’ overtime-forcing heroics (see above).
The extra period didn’t last long but did see a great chance from Seth Jones on a breakaway that Gibson stoned. On the next trip up the ice for Anaheim, Fowler scored to complete his hat trick and win the game for the Ducks.
- Columbus had 9:27 of power play time. One goal on any six of those man-advantages and it’s a completely different game.
- Coach John Tortorella harped on confidence after the game, or the lack thereof. Specifically the phrase, “zero confidence” as a team. Again—that’s good that they were able to get a point like that! On the other hand—this team is supposed to be better than this!
- Anaheim had a 73.33% CF% in all situations for the first period. Yowza.
- Joonas Korpisalo had the type of game we’ve come to expect from him. Made some good stops, allowed some goals, could’ve gone either way as far as the final result. He made 27 saves on the night.
- Oliver BJORKSTRAND played 5:33 and didn’t see the ice in the third period. He was absolutely erased by a Duck along the boards in the first, though I don’t think that had anything to do with his ice time.
- Nick Foligno ended the night at 23.53 CF%. Boone Jenner? 15.79 CF%. Yikes.
- Back at home to face Dallas on Tuesday night.