Despite jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, the Columbus Blue Jackets were able to hold on, as a three-goal second period from the Los Angeles Kings proved to be too much for the CBJ to overcome in a 5-2 defeat on Thursday night at the Staples Center.
The Kings scored three of their four unanswered tallys in the second, getting to Jonas Korpasalo early and often in the period. Nate Thompson beat Korpi less than three minutes into the period as the Jackets were caught in the midst of a line change following a penalty kill. Thompson let it rip from the near boards and it hit the post and rattled in to pull the Kings within 2-1.
LA tied the game just five minutes into the second on the first of two deflected goals in the period. Anze Kopitar forced turnover turned into a nice offensive zone possession for the Kings, leading to a shot from Christian Folin that was redirected from point-blank in front of Korpi by Alex Iafallo to make it 2-2.
Tanner Pearson gave the Kings a 3-2 lead on a power play goal that was, once again, redirected from right in front of Korpi when Drew Doughty threw the puck in front from the blue line and Pearson was able to direct it in.
The Jackets, who played a bit of a lackadaisical second period, came out looking better in the third, although it felt like the Jackets had a tough time either getting the puck out of the defensive zone or just possessing the puck in general.
Things really started to deflate just before the halfway point of the third, when Jeff Carter notched a shorthanded goal despite being on the outnumbered in of a 2-on-1, beating Korpi and making it 4-2.
Iafallo scored again in the closing minutes of the game, making it 5-2 on a beautiful follow-the-puck-at-any-costs play and finishing with an even prettier shot to beat Korpi upper 90.
Columbus opened the scoring by getting off to a fast start in the first period, scoring less than four minutes into the game on a Cam Atkinson wrist shot, set up by a nifty pass from Artemi Panarin to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.
It was 2-0 later in the same frame on a wrist shot from the point from Seth Jones, who navigated the puck past a pair of King defender’s sticks and past the stick of Jonathan Quick, which was the narrower side of the goal, to give the Jackets the two goal advantage after two periods.
The loss is disappointing for obvious reasons, i.e., blowing a 2-0 lead, but once the Jackets started to let the Kings get looks and goals, they never looked able to recover. It was very quickly a dream start to the west coast swing turning into a nightmare.
But, it’s a quick turnaround as it’s time to look ahead to Anaheim tomorrow...tonight...tomorrow? I hate these west coast games.