The Columbus Blue Jackets dropped a close one in the shootout tonight to the Vegas Golden Knights by a 3-2 final score. Vegas was a desperate team coming into tonight, having lost back-to-back games with lackluster performances, so it was impressive to see a shorthanded Blue Jackets team fight their way back from a multi-goal deficit and control large stretches of the game. Ultimately, the Jackets fell short in the skills competition, only scoring one shootout goal in seven rounds. It is a shame they couldn’t pull this one out for their goaltender, Daniil Tarasov, who played great and performed well in his first NHL shootout.
Here’s how it went down.
It was the Jackets fourth line that created the first scoring chance of the game. It was followed up by another strong shift from the Jackets’ third line. The Blue Jackets generated the first five shots of the game, keeping the NHL’s best road team at bay in the opening minutes.
Vegas was given a power play just under five minutes in when Johnny Gaudreau went off for a very subtle hold while defending an odd-man rush. The Columbus penalty killers looked very strong on their first opportunity. They very nearly created a breakaway for Johnny Gaudreau as he exited the box, but the referee blew the play dead when the net came off its moorings even though the Jackets had full possession. Just an unfortunate call.
The Blue Jackets’ suddenly hot power play would get their first chance almost nine minutes into the game thanks to an interference penalty on Vegas’ defenseman Alec Martinez. The Jackets’ man advantage had just as much success as the Vegas one: none. They failed to generate a shot and had trouble entering the zone.
After a lot of neutral zone play, it was the Golden Knights who struck first. With four minutes remaining in the period, a Wild Bill Karlsson rebound attempt off an initial Tarasov save glanced off the skate of Jackets’ defenseman Jake Christiansen and trickled into the net before Tarasov could react.
1-0 VGK (Karlsson from Marchessault and McNabb)
The Jackets needed to maintain their composure after playing a strong defensive period. Unfortunately they did the opposite, allowing another goal on the very next shift. Trey Fix-Wolansky was caught without a stick and Vegas capitalized wristing a shot off of Tarasov’s glove and into the net.
2-0 VGK (Carrier from Whitecloud)
The Jackets had a strong shift to end the period, but were unable to beat Thompson, and they left the ice down a pair of goals after twenty minutes. It was a pretty even period overall, but good teams are able to put their limited chances in the net, and that is exactly what Vegas did.
Vegas took the opening faceoff into the zone and got a shot off, forcing Tarasov to make a point-blank save just seconds into the period. They kept pressure on in the opening minute, drawing a holding penalty on Vladislav Gavrikov. The Jackets penalty killers were once again up to the task, keeping the Jackets in the game.
At the midway point of the game, the Jackets were simply hanging on just hoping things didn’t get worse. Columbus started off the game in control of the pace of play in the opening minutes, but it had been all Knights up until that point, having outshot the Jackets 3-to-1 and nearly doubling them up in offensive zone time.
The Blue Jackets finally took advantage of one of their scoring chances late in the period. A very strong shift in offensive zone by the Jackets’ top line ended with a Gaudreau one-timer in the back of the net. It was an impressive shift that saw the Blue Jackets dominate possession for about a minute-and-a-half, while the Vegas defenders’ legs were too heavy to retrieve and clear the puck.
johnny score goal, cannon go boom pic.twitter.com/aDnEsMDDIn— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 29, 2022
2-1 VGK (Gaudreau from Nyquist and Gavrikov)
Just a few minutes later, Daniil Tarasov made a huge save on a breakaway to keep the Jackets within a goal and maintain the momentum gained after the Gaudreau goal.
With just under two minutes in the period, the Jackets received a power play opportunity when TFW was boarded by Keegan Kolesar, giving the Blue Jackets a golden opportunity to tie the game. The Johnson/TFW/Roslovic line was buzzing all night and looked strong even if they were unable to find the scoresheet.
The golden chance ended up being for Vegas, as they turned the penalty kill into a power kill, creating multiple odd-man rushes and a breakaway for Jack Eichel. Thankfully, Tarasov was up to the challenge, but Yegor Chinakhov was penalized attempting to defend the Eichel break, negating the man-advantage, ending the period still trailing by a goal.
The Jackets opened up the final period on the penalty kill, needing to kill off the remaining 1:22 of the Chinakhov penalty. The penalty was killed, and as Vegas maintained possession, Nic Haugue threw a puck towards the net that struck Jack Eichel in the face sending him to the ice in distress. He left the ice in a hurry with blood pouring out of a gash under his eye. He would eventually return for the final five minutes.
Jack Roslovic missed tying the game on a wide open net five minutes into the period. A rebound ended up on his stick all alone on the weak side, and he just flubbed the shot, sending a harmless wobbler wide of the net. That was one that should keep him awake tonight. It’s been that kind of season for Roslovic.
Columbus was making a strong push, controlling much of the play in the first half of the final frame. But at the halfway point, they were still unable to find the equalizer despite a few strong scoring chances.
It took just a few extra minutes for the Jackets to tie the game. Once again, it was the top line putting the puck in the net. This time, it was Boone Jenner tapping in the loose puck of a Gus Nyquist shot from a beautiful cross-zone pass. The puck may have eventually trickled over the line on its own, but Boone was not taking any chances, absolutely slam dunking the puck.
2-2 (Jenner from Nyquist and Gaudreau)
In the dying minutes of the period, Yegor Chinakhov took another penalty due to an overzealous backcheck. The penalty killers had been great all night, but they would be tested one final time with the game on the line. Once more, the PK units came up clutch, including a big save from Daniil Tarasov, who had been sharp all night.
The final minute ticked by with no harm done and the teams were headed to overtime with a point secured.
Scoring chances for both teams in first half of the overtime period didn’t result in a winner. Jack Eichel rang one off the post, and Gus Nyquist was denied on a breakaway before time wound down. This one was to be decided in the shootout — the first of young Daniil Tarasov’s NHL career.
Gus Nyquist’s patented wrister in the shootout found the back of the net in the first round. No more goals were scored until Vegas had their backs against the wall, and Jonathan Marchessault scored to keep the shootout going. In round 7, some guy named Paul Cotter deked Tarasov out of his skates and slid the puck into the empty cage, sealing the win for Vegas.
Final 3-2 VGK
The Blue Jackets head north of the border to take on the Winnipeg on Friday night at 8pm.