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Game #54 Recap: Jackets give up goal with 1.3 seconds remaining, fall 3-2 to Devils

Here’s what happened.

New Jersey Devils v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets returned to the ice on Tuesday night to take on the visiting New Jersey Devils. The team made one significant lineup change, holding out defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to protect the asset in the pending trade market. Pierre LeBrun added more context:

With the news of the lineup change, Gavin Bayreuther went in while Elvis Merzlikins got the start in net. Here’s what happened.

First Period

The Blue Jackets started brightly, generating five of the first eight shots while Elvis Merzlikins settled in comfortably early. At the 14:15 remaining mark, Erik Gudbranson inadvertently tripped Merzlikins but the goaltender was able to get back to his feet and avert any danger.

The Devils earned the game’s first power play as Gavin Bayreuther went off for interference at 6:17 of the first. The Jackets killed the penalty, allowing no shots. Even still, the Devils broke open the scoring following a rush through the neutral zone. The Devils led a rush up the ice and Yegor Sherangovich was left fairly wide open for his 12th of the season, beating Merzlikins from the right slot.

New Jersey goal (0-1): Sherangovich from Zetterlund and Haula, 10:46

The Jackets carried the play following the Devils goal, generating several chances and forcing a Devils icing, but were unable to beat Vitek Vanacek for the equalizer as the teams hit the final TV timeout with 3:10 remaining in the first. With 1:47 left in the first, Jack Roslovic drew a tripping penalty on Erik Haula and gave the Jackets their first man advantage. With 1.3 seconds left in the period, Johnny Gaudreau found a loose puck in the slot and beat Vanacek from the slot after Patrik Laine kept the puck in the zone.

Columbus goal (1-1): Gaudreau from Laine and Boqvist, 19:58

After 20 minutes, the game was tied 1-1 while the Jackets led in shots 12-8.

Second Period

The Jackets’ momentum did not carry over into the second period - it took seven seconds for the Devils to regain their lead. Jesper Bratt capitalized as the Devils won an opening faceoff and got sprung on an immediate breakaway. Even if there are injuries and no Gavrikov, that was completely disgraceful.

New Jersey goal (1-2): Bratt from Marino and Graves, 0:07

The Jackets managed to respond yet again, though. After Merzlikins made a save on a partial breakaway, Adam Boqvist let a shot go from the slot that surprised Vanacek and beat the Devils’ netminder for his first goal of the season and second point of the evening.

Columbus goal (2-2): Boqvist from Jenner and Bayreuther, 4:41

After some up and down play, Patrik Laine took a high sticking penalty with 11:21 remaining as he caught Damon Severson high. The Jackets again killed the penalty, this time allowing just one shot. With 5:43 remaining, the Jackets earned another power play as Tomas Tatar went off. The Jackets, like the Devils before them, did nothing with their man advantage.

The teams ended the second tied 2-2. Shots favored the Devils 21-19.

Third Period

The teams began the period trading possession, but each only managed one shot on goal through the first five minutes of the period. The Jackets earned the first power play of the third period with 11:49 to go as Sharangovich hooked Patrik Laine to deny a scoring chance in the slot. The Devils killed the penalty, keeping the game knotted at two.

With 8:07 remaining, Eric Robinson was denied from the slot and forced and icing from the Devils. Kirill Marchenko fired inches wide with just over five minutes remaining as the Jackets looked for, but failed to find, the winner.

The Devils had a chance for a winner, but with 2:40 remaining, Boone Jenner and Elvis Merzlikins managed to keep the puck out following a scramble on the left side of the Jackets’ net. On the verge of overtime, the Jackets’ defense finally collapsed. Andrew Peeke got turned around in the slot and McLeod found Graves for the winner with 1.6 remaining.

New Jersey goal (3-2): Graves from McLeod and Palat, 19:58


New Jersey Devils 3 Columbus Blue Jackets 2

Final Thoughts

Good move by Jarmo to hold Gavrikov out in advance of the deadline. Gavrikov is one of the prizes of the trade deadline - no need to risk his getting hurt in meaningless games. Absolutely no reason for another Gustav Nyquist situation to even be able to present itself.

More good management - sticking to your price:

Patrik Laine was active in all three zones in this one, including two power play shots before he forced a keep-in that directly led to Johnny Gaudreau’s opening goal. That’s the type of play Columbus needs from Laine on a consistent basis. It would be nice to see it going forward.

Stick taps to Johnny Gaudreau who, with 50 points in 53 games, became the fastest Jacket to 50 points in their career with the team in franchise history.

Absolutely embarrassing defense at the end. Erik Gudbranson failed to clear the crease and Andrew Peeke got turned inside out like he’s a rookie as the Devils made the Jackets pay with 1.3 seconds remaining. Elvis couldn’t have done more there - that’s on his skaters. Just pathetic defending.

Up Next

The Columbus Blue Jackets remain home as they play host to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Faceoff is set for 7:00 ET.