Game 57 Recap: *Yawn*

The Jackets started strong, but some bad momentum swings eventually allowed Los Angeles to tie this game, and finally win on a Robin Regehr shot in overtime.

It's 1:30 in the morning, and the headline kind of sums up this game, unfortunately.

There were some nice fireworks early, though. The Kings took a penalty in the first minute when Tyler Toffoli hooked down James Wisniewski, and not long after, Jack Johnson teed up a nice pass from Ryan Johansen to hammer it past Jonathan Quick for the early lead.

Unfortunately, team USA's (likely) starting goalie seemed to wake up after that shot, and despite the Jackets dominating the first period, outshooting the Kings 10-2 and playing almost 15 of the 20 minutes in the LA zone, Quick held his team in the game, including a couple of big saves on Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky.

The other story of the night came in the second period, and it's not nearly as nice: After a choppy start to the middle frame, Ryan Murray was attempting to skate the puck out of his own zone. Two different Kings were already trying to get him off the puck, including a pretty nasty bit of stickwork from Mike Richards, when Dustin Brown came in and dropped the rookie d-man with what looked like an elbow to the head.

Brown would be given a minor for charging, which the Jackets bench was clearly dissatisfied with, but could not get the power play clicking to make the Kings pay on the scoreboard, and LA pretty clearly drew energy from the kill. Murray would not return in the second period, and Columbus was forced to hang on through a pair of penalties and a flurry of late shots, scraping through to hold the lead through 40 minutes.

Unfortunately, though Murray would return to the bench in the third period, the string of penalties finally caught the Jackets - Nikita Nikitin would be whistled for a hook on Trevor Lewis, and even though Slava Voynov would even things up, the penalty kill would lose track of Trevor Muzzin, who set up behind the defense and redirected an Anze Kopitar shot past Bob to tie the game.

The Jackets didn't look sharp, but still managed a couple of decent chances, including an excellent sequence in the final minute that forced Quick to make point blank saves against Brandon Dubinsky and Matt Calvert, but time was not on their side, and the game would head to overtime.

Columbus continued to keep after the Kings, but unfortunately the home team would find the answer before their visitors. Artem Anisimov was attempting to get the puck out of his zone when Mike Richards took the puck away and sent it to Robin Regehr, who was ready and waiting for a booming slap shot that would get through the traffic. Bob was pretty effectively screened by Jeff Carter and Fedor Tyutin, and unforunately just didn't see the shot until it was too late.

Final Score: Kings 2 - Jackets 1 (OT)

Detailed / advanced stats from Extra Skater

Standard Bearers:

  • Brandon Dubinsky - Though he didn't manage to beat Quick, Dubi certainly gave it a good college try. Shots at even strength, a shorthanded breakaway, a couple of good looks on the PP, and holding serve in the faceoff circle.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky - Even though Bob gave up the OT winner, he kept the team in it during some pretty serious lapses, and looked sharp even when he was spending a lot of time watching the action 200 feet away.
  • Jack Johnson - Nice goal, a fair bit of rubber on net during the game (Dubi and JMFJ accounted for almost 1/3 of the team's shots tonight) and picked up a great deal of the minutes lost due to Murray's injury.

Bottom of the Barrel:

  • Dan O'Rourke - You know it's pretty horrid officiating when you wonder on the internet if that ref has a bias against your team...and it turns out you're right. In fact, only three officials have a higher percentage of calls against the Jackets compared to opponents.
  • Finish - There were a couple of "near miss" opportunities, including breakways by Mark Letestu and Artem Anisimov, that came within inches of turning this game around - oh, and a heartbreaker from Fedor Tyutin that hit the inside post, walked the goal line, and bounced out. It's not easy to beat Quick, and the Jackets had some opportunities that they needed to deliver on.

Even though the Jackets slipped a point behind Philadelphia, they still closed within two points of the Rangers, and still hold a game in hand on both teams in front of them. (We're tied in GP with Pittsburgh, but, well, Pittsburgh.) The team has three points in two games on this road trip, and if they can make some hay against the Sharks tomorrow, stand a good chance of being in second place in the Metro going into the Olympic break.

The longer term concern, as far as I'm concerned, is Ryan Murray. He did return for the third period, but hits like that have a tendency to show side effects a day or even a few days later. Here's hoping that he did dodge a bullet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed until we find out if he's in the lineup tomorrow or not.

This wasn't a great game, and certainly a fairly frustrating loss even with taking a point out of it, but there's one game left, and a good opportunity to end this trip on a high note.

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