In overtime, the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 in the definition of a barn burner. It had a bit of everything: a power play goal, a shorthanded goal, blown leads, momentum shifts, Jack Roslovic goals, a wild overtime winner AND an official review that went the Jackets’ way.
It was a fun, yet occasionally ugly game. But I will take those any day over many of the stinkers we’ve been subject to this year.
Here’s how it went down.
The Jackets caught a bit of a break before puck drop tonight as it was announced that veteran Kings’ defenseman, Drew Doughty, would miss tonight’s game due to a lower body injury.
After a quiet opening seven minutes, it was the Blue Jackets’ “kid line” that opened the scoring. Kent Johnson picked off a pass and then showed great patience with the puck before finding Kirill Marchenko, who buried the puck into the gaping net with Jonathan Quick way out of position.
1-0 CBJ (Marchenko from Johnson)
Just a few minutes later the Jackets nearly doubled their lead on a delayed penalty but Eric Robinson was unable to jam the puck home. Ultimately, it didn’t matter since the Jackets scored on the power play just seconds into the man-advantage. Johnny Gaudreau found Jack Roslovic in the middle for a one-time shot that found Boone Jenner’s stick on the way into the net. It was Boones’ team leading 10th goal of the year, and helped break the Jackets’ power play out of a 1 for 22 slump.
2-0 CBJ (Jenner from Roslovic and Gaudreau)
Los Angeles was struggling to keep up with the pace of play of the Jackets and found themselves guilty of another penalty with about seven minutes left giving the Jackets a chance to break it open early. Patrik Laine was inches away from doing just that, but the puck rang off the crossbar after glancing off Quick’s glove. Los Angeles did a much better job keeping the puck on the perimeter after that and successfully killed off the remainder of the tripping penalty.
Los Angeles began to push near the end of the period, but Elvis Merzlikins picked up where he left off on Friday night and made some strong saves to keep the Kings off the board.
Whatever message was sent after the Buffalo embarrassment must have resonated because this was the fourth straight period in which the Blue Jackets played pretty tight defensively. They kept the Kings off the board and left the ice after twenty minutes with a two goal lead. That is where the stout dense ended unfortunately.
Prior to puck drop in the second, Jody Shelley mentioned that Kings’ coach Todd McClellan was ripping into his team during the intermission, so it was clear to everyone that there would be a big time push when the puck dropped. Typically this season, the Blue Jackets have not had much of answer when other teams amp up their game.
It was obvious the Kings had shifted into another gear in the opening minutes, generating a couple of odd-man rushes on their first few shifts including a breakaway. The Jackets were lucky to survive both unscathed, thanks in part to a couple strong saves by Elvis including a huge save on the Viktor Arvidsson breakaway.
However, it remained all Kings to start the frame, and it was only a matter of time before Los Angeles put one past Elvis. Just under five minutes in, Kings captain, Anze Kopitar, was fed a perfect pass and promptly buried a shot past a sprawled out Merzlikins.
2-1 CBJ (Kopitar from Kaliyev and Fiala)
Los Angeles was gifted a power play after some nice acting by Gabe Vilardi who sold a hook by Kirill Marchenko. The Jackets penalty killers stood tall not allowing much of anything at all.
Nonetheless, the Kings kept their foot on the gas and yet again, the Jackets wilted under the pressure of their opponent’s push. The Jackets failed to clear a puck and Blake Lizotte found a loose puck in front and ripped a shot off the goal camera knotting up the game at two.
2-2 (Lizotte from Grundstrom and Iaffalo)
Unlike many other games where the wheels just fell off after giving up a lead, the Jackets actually had a response in this one. Columbus caught the Kings deep in the Jackets’ end, allowing a two-on-one with Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine. Roslovic carried the puck into the zone, and sauced a pass right into Laine’s wheelhouse who made no mistake hammering a one-timer past Quick, giving Columbus the lead once again.
3-2 CBJ (Laine from Roslovic and Gudbranson)
The lead wouldn’t last, as the Kings tied it up just minutes later. Sean Durzi picked up a puck in the neutral zone, deked Mathieu Olivier and then found Jaret Anderson-Dolan coming down the wing. Elvis overcommitted sliding across the crease and the shot against the grain beat him far side.
3-3 (Anderson-Dolan from Durzi)
Los Angeles had a chance late in the period to take their first lead of the game thanks to a penalty from Andrew Peeke. He committed a hooking penalty, followed by a boarding penalty seconds later. Thankfully, he was only called for boarding.
In a huge plot twist to the script we are used to, it was the Blue Jackets who benefited from their penalty! Jack Roslovic and Eric Robinson converted on a shorthanded two-on-one with Jack burying the puck for his first goal in forever.
4-3 CBJ (Roslovic from Robinson and Gavrikov)
To add insult to injury for the Kings, Kevin Fiala was called for playing with a broken stick near the end of their power play giving the Jackets one of their own to end the period. Columbus wasted little time capitalizing on their opportunity when Johnny Gaudreau spotted Jack Roslovic entering the zone straight from the bench. He was able to step into a one-timer that froze Jonathan Quick, giving the Jackets their two goal lead back in the final minute of the period. It was Roslovic’s fourth point of the night and put him on hatty watch heading in the third.
5-3 CBJ (Roslovic from Gaudreau and Laine)
The Blue Jackets nearly survived the first five minutes of the period without surrendering a goal to the Kings’ push.
But they didn’t.
Anze Kopitar picked up a rebound that Elvis was unable to find and tucked it home, much to Merzlikins’ dismay. The body language was not good from Elvis.
5-4 CBJ (Kopitar from Walker)
Just 39 seconds later, the Kings tied the game. Merzlikins weakly steered a dump in attempt into the corner and some sloppy play allowed the puck to kick out into the slot where Adrian Kempe ripped a shot over the glove of Elvis, tying the game at five.
5-5 (Kempe unassisted)
The Jackets managed to keep the Kings off the board for the next ten minutes, but were getting caved in by the Kings. In a period in which they started off leading, and then quickly tied up, L.A. was outshooting the Blue Jackets 16-4 and clearly looked like they wanted it more.
Los Angeles had multiple chances to win the game down the stretch but the puck stayed out of the net. It’s sad to say a team that entered a period up by a pair would end up “surviving,” but thats exactly what happened. This game was just destined to be settled in overtime.
Boone Jenner came out for his ceremonial faceoff in overtime and won possession for the Blue Jackets. Patrik Laine eventually drove the net and pulled off a slick toe-drag backhander that Jonathan Quick saved. The rebound popped up and was touched by Johnny Gaudreau’s glove which directed it into the net. This should have been disallowed, HOWEVER, Kevin Fiala was the last player to touch the puck as he attempted to steer the it away from the goal line and ended up putting it into his own net.
After a lengthy review, the refs and Toronto came to the same decision. Good goal.
JUST CALL HIM GAME WINNER GAUDREAU pic.twitter.com/c5C6MPZcqP— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 12, 2022
6-5 CBJ (Gaudreau from Laine and Gavrikov)
The Blue Jackets head south to sunny Florida for a matchup against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday at 7pm.
Hey Jarmo, if you’re reading, you should definitely claim Eeli Tolvanen.