The Blue Jackets saw their point streak continue to a season-high-tying six games with a 3-2 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
It was a defensive, hard-fought, tight-checking affair, as it often is between these teams. A Blue Jackets team that didn't have David Savard (illness) and lost Cam Atkinson to injury got a late, extra-attacker goal from Boone Jenner to send the game to overtime, where Pierre-Luc Dubois won it with a magnificent finish 1:11 in.
Video: Torts on overtime win against LA
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "I'm happy for them tonight. We looked a little bit tired with four games in six nights. I give LA a lot of credit in how they play. They're a hard team to play against, really tough to get through in the neutral zone, but we stayed with it."
- Zach Werenski scored and added an assist in his second game back from injury and has 12 points (4-8-12) in his last 12 contests. He now has seven goals on the season to lead CBJ defensemen.
- Dubois (1-1-2) and Gustav Nyquist (two assists) each had two-point nights for the second game in a row. Dubois has multiple points in three of the last four games, while Nyquist has a four-game point streak (1-5-6).
- Boone Jenner scored a 6-on-5 goal with 1:43 to go, extending his point streak to three games (1-2-3) and giving him seven goals on the year.
The Blue Jackets found themselves down 1-0 in the opening minute, as the Kings scored just 42 seconds into the game. After a Jackets icing call, Los Angeles won the draw, and Ben Hutton's shot from the left point was stopped by Joonas Korpisalo's pad before Adrian Kempe drew the rebound out of traffic and put it into the net.
Columbus didn't have to wait long for the equalizer, though, as Werenski made it a 1-1 game at 2:55. Gus Nyquist found him waiting for a one-timer at the top of the right circle and Werenski made the most of it, rifling a shot past the glove of goalie Jack Campbell.
Marko Dano had a breakaway chance later in the first but was denied by Campbell's blocker, and from there the teams made it hard on each other to find scoring chances.
It stayed that way into the second, though eight minutes in, the Blue Jackets broke up a pass and Nyquist found Atkinson for a breakaway. Defenseman Sean Walker raced behind Atkinson and committed a hooking penalty, but instead of a penalty shot, the Blue Jackets got a power play and did not score on it.
The Kings then took a 2-1 lead at 11:16 of the period. The Blue Jackets defense got back well in transition to break up a centering pass, but Vladislav Gavrikov couldn't get what he wanted on a clearing attempt. Jeff Carter took advantage, spinning and firing past the glove of Korpisalo from in close.
The Blue Jackets upped the pressure late in the period but couldn't find the tying goal, but Korpisalo continued to keep them in it. Three minutes into the third period, Michael Amadio got loose in front and had a good look, but Korpisalo made the stop with his chest before covering with his legs.
A crucial moment came with just over 11 minutes to go as Nick Foligno nearly tied the game. First, he drew a penalty as he carted the puck to the net, then moments later with the team skating 6-on-5, his shot from the slot under duress from Carter hit the open post behind Campbell.
Just when it looked like the Blue Jackets were running out of time, they got a goal with Korpisalo pulled at 18:17. Werenski's shot from the center point was tipped home in front by Boone Jenner for his seventh goal of the year, allowing Columbus to extend its point streak.
Video: LAK@CBJ: Jenner ties the game with a redirection
Not satisfied with that, Columbus got the winner 1:11 into OT. Nyquist fed in Dubois streaking to the net, and his finish was a perfect one roofed over Campbell to send the Blue Jackets home with the win.
1. If it feels like the Blue Jackets rarely win a game like that, it's because they rarely do. According to Hockey Reference's Play Index, it's just the third time since Jan. 1, 2017, that the Blue Jackets got a tying goal in the final two minutes -- and the Jackets lost both of those games. In fact, it's the first win for Columbus that included a game-tying goal in the last two minutes since an overtime win Nov. 1, 2016, vs. Dallas. Credit to the team for sticking with it and getting Jenner's late tally before Dubois and Nyquist linked up for a fantastic winner. "It was a really nice pass by him," Dubois said of Nyquist. "To be honest, I thought it went in, but I wasn't sure. I turned around, so I was like, 'If that's not in, I'm out of position here.' But I was just happy it went in, and Gus made a really nice pass."
2. At this point, the injury bug is getting ridiculous, as the Blue Jackets have lost Sonny Milano, Josh Anderson, Ryan Murray, Andrew Peeke and now Atkinson (left in the second with a lower-body injury) in the past four games alone, while Savard's late scratch pushed the team's depth to the limit. Yet the Blue Jackets keep winning. To a man, the players said the maladies have offered an opportunity for others to step up, and it might have created a bit of a CBJ against the world mentality as well. "We've been talking about it -- it's an opportunity for every one of us to step up and come together and get the wins," Jenner said. "You have to come together. That's the only way to get through it and come out on the right side of those games."
3. While the ending was a fantastic one for Blue Jackets fans, they had to sit through a tough-to-watch 58 minutes to get there. It wasn't that the team played badly, but Los Angeles plays a lockdown defensive style that features clogging the neutral zone before a man-on-man defense in the zone. It just made it hard on Columbus to generate, especially after Carter's fluky goal gave the Kings the lead halfway through the game. It was never gonna be a pretty game, but the Blue Jackets stuck with it and got the full complement of points. "It wasn't a pretty game by any means tonight," Werenski admitted. "We found a way to win, and that's the most important thing."
Dean Kukan had a team-high six shots on goal. ... Korpisalo made 23 saves while Campbell had 25. … The Columbus power play finished 1-for-4, while the Kings didn't score on two man-advantage chances. … Oliver Bjorkstrand ran his point streak to three games (3-2-5). ... After going 0-10-5 in the first 15 games this year when giving up the first goal, Columbus has now won two in a row when falling in a 1-0 hole. ... Columbus improved to 3-1-1 in its last five games vs. the Kings on home ice. ... The Blue Jackets improved to 4-1-1 in Thursday games this season and hold a 15-2-1 record at Nationwide Arena in Thursday contests stretching back to Dec. 14, 2017.
The Blue Jackets made two changes to the defensive pairings with Savard and Andrew Peeke (injury) out. Scott Harrington and Gabriel Carlsson, who was recalled on an emergency basis Thursday, went in and played together. Carlsson became the 10th player to suit up on the blue line this year for Columbus and skated 9:44 in his season debut.
The Blue Jackets host New Jersey at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night in the final home game before the Christmas break.