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FINAL: Blue Jackets 3, Stars 2

Milano's highlight-reel goal helps push Columbus to victory

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets won their second straight game and got back to the .500 mark at 3-3 with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night over Dallas at Nationwide Arena.

Game in a Paragraph 

In a bit of a wild game that featured a bunch of near misses, Columbus took a 2-0 lead early and held a 2-1 advantage going into the third period. It stayed that way until nearly the midway point when Sonny Milano's highlight reel goal made it a 3-1 game and left Nationwide Arena abuzz, and it proved to be a valuable insurance goal when the Stars scored with 4.5 seconds left.

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Quote of the Game

Seth Jones: "We started out very well. The latter half of the first period, we didn't play so hot. We weren't moving our feet and just getting outcompeted. But I thought at the start of the second period, we got our legs back under us. We regrouped in here, talked about some things and I think we started playing hockey again, starting playing hard, starting playing together and starting executing. I thought everyone throughout the lineup played well."

CBJ Notables 

  • Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 30 shots and won his third of four starts. He has a .931 save percentage in his last three starts, going 2-1-0. 
  • Zach Werenski scored a goal, the 40th of his career, tying him with David Savard for second all-time in tallies for CBJ defensemen, one behind Rostislav Klesla for the record. 
  • Alexander Wennberg scored his first goal of the year on a fantastic individual effort and now has a 1-3-4 line in his last four games.  

Quick Recap 

Korpisalo was on his game early -- like, 3:30 into the game early, as he went post-to-post to make a fantastic save on the Dallas power play to keep it scoreless. The feed to Denis Gurianov left him open low in the right circle, but Korpisalo slid over and got the heel of his glove on it to make an excellent stop. 

The Blue Jackets then let their energy take over and built a 2-0 lead. Werenski started the scoring at 7:42 to complete a relentless shift by the top line, taking a splendid cross-ice feed from Gus Nyquist and firing a wrist shot past Ben Bishop from the right dot.  

Columbus then doubled the lead at 15:01, and it was all Wennberg. First, the center carried the puck in the zone and skated all the way around the net to create one scoring chance, then he intercepted a clearing attempt, deked his way into the left circle and fired past Bishop's glove.  

Video: Condensed Game: Stars @ Blue Jackets

But all that appeared to do was wake up the Stars, who had an 8-0 edge in shots on goal over the last 4:59 of the period. Dallas also got a goal, as with the CBJ struggling to clear the zone and the Jackets facing a delayed penalty, Alexander Radulov fed Miro Heiskanen in the left circle for a shot past Korpisalo.  

The CBJ goalie made a huge stop of Joe Pavelski on the doorstep with 3.8 seconds left in the frame, though, to keep the 2-1 lead, and he added a save with his mask on a Corey Perry slapper on the first shift of the second period. 

From there, Columbus had chances to add to its lead in the second but could not do so. Bishop made nice stops on Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jakob Lilja and also got lucky, as Pierre-Luc Dubois drilled the crossbar on the power play and Bjorkstrand had an open net to shoot at late only to see Heiskanen deflect it wide.  

The two players wearing No. 14 traded chances on the opening shift of the third period, but it stayed a 2-1 game. First, Jamie Benn had a good look at a rebound, but Korpisalo slid over to make a save with his pad. Then, the CBJ went the other way, with Nyquist having a breakaway ping the crossbar.  

Columbus then took a 3-1 lead with 10:53 left, and the Blue Jackets might not score a prettier goal all season. Milano deked into the zone past Roope Hintz, came in from the left side, tucked the puck between his legs and roofed a shot over Bishop in a spectacular individual effort that will surely be on all the highlight shows.  

Video: DAL@CBJ: Milano goes between his legs for superb goal

Dallas scored an extra-attacker goal with 4.5 seconds to go from Joe Pavelski, but it was academic from there as Columbus closed out the win.

3 Takeaways

1. Another strong finish: If you're a Columbus fan, it has to feel like the Blue Jackets lead the NHL every year in game-tying goals allowed in the final five minutes of games. It's almost certainly not true, but there always seems to be that voice in the back of the head that feels nervous until that final horn and cannon blast go off. Well, the Blue Jackets for the second game in a row did exactly what they had to do to shepherd home a lead, this time holding the 2-1 edge for 30 minutes of game action before Milano's goal gave some breathing room. "It feels good," Korpisalo said. "I knew we had to do the same thing as in Carolina, leading with one goal and killing the game a little bit, and that's what we did."

2. Sound the horn: The most important moment of the game might have come when the horn sounded to end the first period. The Blue Jackets needed the respite as, after the team took a 2-0 lead with 4:59 left in the period, Dallas had eight shots on goal, eight scoring chances, one goal and multiple excellent chances. But Korpisalo held strong, and Columbus clearly got back on track in the second, not allowing a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the period. Head coach John Tortorella said Columbus gave up just six scoring chances in the final 40 minutes of action. "We basically watch them play for those five minutes but then regroup in between periods and check the rest of the game," he said.

3. Another Wennberg moment: Wennberg is starting to stack impressive performances on top of each other, and his goal was a fitting cap to a fantastic shift. In the span of about 10 seconds of game play, Wennberg took the puck into the zone, fought off a standout defenseman in John Klingberg, set up a slap shot, intercepted a breakout pass, deked his way into open ice and then finished. "That whole shift kind of puts into a nutshell for me as far as what we've been asking him to do," Tortorella said. And if he keeps it going, he fills a critical spot for the Blue Jackets. 

Notable 

Columbus has now won eight in a row vs. Dallas including five straight in Nationwide Arena. … The Blue Jackets were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and are now 6-for-6 the last three games. ... The Blue Jackets notched 35 shots on goal for the second straight game. ... Wennberg did not score a 5-on-5 goal the entire 2018-19 season. ... Korpisalo started his fourth straight game, his longest stretch since making four starts in a row from Feb. 25-March 4, 2016. … Swedish rookie Jakob Lilja got his first NHL point with an assist on Milano's goal. … Milano's goal was his first NHL tally since Oct. 18 of last season. … Columbus led going into the third period for the first time this season. … Perry, who played 988 games with Anaheim, made his Stars debut after missing the start of the season with a foot injury, while Pavelski notched his first goal with the team.

Roster Report 

Forward Markus Hannikainen and defensemen Scott Harrington and Dean Kukan were the healthy scratches. 

Up Next 

Columbus faces its third back-to-back early in the season over the weekend, traveling to take on Chicago on Friday night before returning to Nationwide Arena on Saturday night for a game vs. the New York Islanders. The Blue Jackets will celebrate First Responders Night.  

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