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Game #32 Recap: Blue Jackets Can’t Solve Ducks, Fall 2-1 in Overtime

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Sometimes you just run into a hot goalie

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets dominated the visiting Anaheim Ducks in scoring chances and possession on Saturday night, but John Gibson and the Ducks hung on to earn a 2-1 win with a Daniel Sprong goal in overtime.

Columbus outshot Anaheim 37-22, won the high danger chance battle 18-5 and posted a 59.79 CF% in all situations, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.

Take a look at this heatmap, for crying out loud:

NaturalStatTrick.com

The two sides traded goals in the first period and Gibson stopped 36 Blue Jackets shots on the night. The netminder dragged his team to overtime, where the Ducks hit paydirt for the win. One minute into the extra frame, Seth Jones couldn’t connect with Pierre-Luc Dubois on a pass behind the net and the puck slid the length of the ice for icing. Anaheim won the ensuing faceoff and Sprong snuck a screened shot past Bobrovsky to end the game.

Sprong scored both goals for Anaheim. Markus Nutivaara scored for Columbus, his fourth of the year. Boone Jenner picked up an assist on the goal and Sergei Bobrovski stopped 20 of 22 shots.

First Period

The game began with each team feeling the other out. Columbus found the scoreboard first, only to see Anaheim tie the game with a bizarre goal.

The Blue Jackets went on the man advantage for the first time at the 8:33 mark when Nick Ritchie hooked Nutivaara. Cam Atkinson had an amazing chance in the crease facing a wide open net but was tied up by a Ducks defenseman and his stick whiffed harmlessly past the puck.

The Blue Jackets struck on the faceoff following the under-10-minute media timeout. As the final notes of “We Like Pizza” reverberated through Nationwide Arena, Boone Jenner won a faceoff that slid back to Markus Nutivaara at the point, who uncorked a one-timer that beat John Gibson:

Blue Jackets 1, Ducks 0, 7:54 left in the first period

A few minutes later, the Ducks evened the score on a head-scratcher from Daniel Sprong. The new Duck threw the puck from the goal line and it glanced off Sergei Bobrovsky’s back, deflecting in from an impossible angle. Remember when Vancouver beat Columbus on a nearly identical goal against Joonas Korpisalo earlier this week?

Blue Jackets 1, Ducks 1, 4:04 left in the first period

A Riley Nash tripping call gave the Ducks their first power play with 2:30 remaining before intermission. The Jackets’ PK stood tall, however, and sent the teams into the break tied at 1-1.

Second Period

Nobody scored in the second, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunity. Hampus Lindholm went coast-to-coast and finished with a shot that clanged off the crossbar. Minutes later, Artemi Panarin created a partial breakaway but found the pads of Gibson instead.

Ryan Murray pinched in on the rush and missed converting a Pierre-Luc Dubois pass by a couple of inches on a net-front tip.

Play heated up late in the period when Bob made an incredible stop seconds before a Pontus Aberg slashing penalty handed the Blue Jackets a power play late in the period. Here’s that Bob save:

The power play wasn’t much to write home (or write here) about, and actually gave Aberg a breakaway upon leaving the box. Bob was up to the task, though:

The CBJ netminder made a few more stops en route to a 1-1 tie at intermission.

Third Period

Josh Anderson turned in one of his tour-de-force shifts early in the period, cutting to the net and shooting from his own rebound. That shift set the tone for the next few minutes as Columbus continued to buzz around the Anaheim end.

Brandon Dubinsky nearly rammed home a rebound—twice—and the ensuing scuffle sent Riley Nash and Jake Dotchin to the box for two minutes of scoreless four-on-four action.

Soon after both players returned to the ice, Dotchin committed a hooking penalty to give Columbus their third power play of the night at the 10:05 mark.

The CBJ came out firing (specifically Seth Jones), peppering Gibson early in the advantage. A quick whistle gave the Ducks a break as the referee lost sight of a loose puck next to, but not under, Gibson’s left leg pad. Gibson made another point-blank save on Atkinson to help kill the penalty.

Anderson started throwing his weight around with a pair of hits that pulled the Nationwide crowd back into the game. Here’s the first, where it looks like he’s playing with beer leaguers:

Here’s the second, punishing Lindholm for having the audacity to play the puck out of the zone:

Pinned in its own zone and with the fans starting to roar, Anaheim took its timeout late in the game. The officials missed a clear Anaheim trip in CBJ territory before the puck went to the other end for Jenner, who missed a tantalizing chance to win the game as the puck bounced over his stick in front of the net. Alas, regulation ended with no deciding goal and the teams headed to overtime.

Final Thoughts

  • After reading this great Pale Dragon piece from Friday, this will be an attempt to be more positive. The Blue Jackets made it look like the Los Angeles Kings didn’t belong on the same ice on Thursday and posted another strong effort against the Ducks on Saturday. They did everything you could do and ran into an extremely good John Gibson. Sometimes that’s how hockey goes, and at least the CBJ came away with a point.
  • At the start of the third period, the Anaheim announcers pointed out that Seth Jones had 16 minutes of ice time and would need to be on the ice for half of the third period to match his league-high average of 26 minutes. He finished with 29:45.
  • The Kiefer Sherwood story is cool and good. Professional hockey players are growing up and playing in Columbus.
  • The third power play was much better than the other two, but 0-for-3 stings in a tight game that went to overtime. Switch the coaches back!
  • Mentioned it up top, but want to reiterate: 20 high-danger scoring chances and one goal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Bob gets a shutout if he doesn’t allow that softie in the first. He’ll beat himself up over that one.
  • Columbus will stay at home for a game on Monday night against Vegas at 7 p.m.