The Blue Jackets dropped a 4-1 final to Dallas on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
Columbus put together a strong first period only to see Dallas, which is trying to make up ground in the playoff race, battle back and take control of the game in the second to take a 2-1 lead into the third. The Blue Jackets had just 11 shots on goal over the last two periods, and the Stars were able to put the game away from there with a pair of goals in the third.
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "We made some plays (where) we hurt ourselves. For the life of me, we just don't understand situational play. It's something we speak on constantly, and we just don't understand situational play, and we're just not able to sustain enough offense."
- Jack Roslovic notched his ninth goal of the year and has a 3-4-7 line in the last five games.
- Rookie Josh Dunne made his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets, and the 22-year-old center from Clarkson University played 12:05 of action.
Video: Blue Jackets, 1 - Stars, 4
After a feeling-out process for each team, Columbus took a 1-0 lead at the 7:16 mark of the opening period on Roslovic's goal, which came on the Jackets' first shot on goal of the game.
The tally completed a pretty transition move, as Roslovic took possession of the puck at the CBJ blue line, skated through the neutral zone and fed Mikhail Grigorenko. From there, Grigorneko hit the trailing Michael Del Zotto, who feigned a shot and found Roslovic at the right post, and he had the simple task of just redirecting the puck past Jake Oettinger for the goal.
Dallas' best chance to tie the score came with about four minutes left in the period, as Jason Dickinson's shot deflected off the stick of Seth Jones and fluttered behind Elvis Merzlikins, only to hit the post and deflect aside harmlessly.
Columbus had a great chance to double the lead midway through the second period as a spinning Eric Robinson found Alexandre Texier wide open in front of the net, but Oettinger made the stop on his shot.
That was Columbus' best chance of the second, but Dallas led the way in quantity with 19 shots on goal to the Jackets' five in the period, and eventually the dam broke as the Stars scored twice in the last three-plus minutes to take the lead.
First, Denis Gurianov tied things up at 1 with just 3:18 to go. Just off the bench, Dickinson fed Gurianov alone at the net front, but while Merzlikins denied his first try on a tip, Gurianov recollected the puck and slipped it by the CBJ goalie.
Then with 1:59 left in the period, Miro Heiskanen scored his third goal of the year vs. Columbus to end a long shift in the CBJ zone. Jamie Oleksiak fed him the puck as Heiskanen cut in from the right point, and the Dallas defenseman cut around Oliver Bjorkstrand into the slot and fired a shot that went off the shoulder of Merzlikins and went in to make it 2-1.
Merzlikins made a great save with the right pad on Radek Faksa from right in front after a bouncing puck found its way to the stick of the Stars forward. But he couldn't stop the Stars from making it 3-1 at the 8:16 mark of the third, as Gurianov fished a loose puck out of the left corner after Esa Lindell's shot hit the back boards and threw the puck toward the net, where it went off of the shin pad of Del Zotto and into the net.
Joe Pavelski finished the scoring by making it 4-1 with 4:52 to go. Dallas completed a long shift in the zone with Roope Hintz passing it across the crease to the open Pavelski, who flipped the puck over Merzlikins for his team-best 17th goal of the year and his fifth tally of the season vs. Columbus.
1. Styles make fights: Let's be honest, these two teams haven't exactly painted Picassos this year when they've met, as the contests -- especially the ones in Dallas -- have been not been the prettiest of affairs. Yet the Blue Jackets had a chance in this one, leading 1-0 late in the second period before a pair of breakdowns turned the game in favor of the Stars. The goals were coming based on the way Dallas had controlled the period, but that didn't make it any easier to swallow. "Momentum changes in a game, and it changes pretty quick," Roslovic said. "Tonight is a good example of that. I guess we have to take it as a learning curve."
2. Still lacking scoring: From there, the Blue Jackets just weren't able to create the offense to make things happen. As Tortorella said in his remark above, the two major frustrations for the head coach were the team's inability to handle the momentum shifts of the game as well as the team's inability to consistnetly generate offense. Oettinger has allowed just nine goals in five starts vs. Columbus this year, and at times the Jackets have made it easy on the rookie goalie. Tonight was one of those nights. "That's just the way it is right now," Del Zotto said. "We're having a tough time scoring goals, so you have to pay that much more attention to the details and checking." Added Tortorella: "There isn't much margin for error."
3. Frustration mounts: It hasn't been a fun year for the Blue Jackets, as the same mistakes seem to keep popping up at different times. It's almost been a game of whack-a-mole; every time one mole gets whacked, another one pops up. Tonight, it was mistakes in the neutral zone, an inability to consistently forecheck and momentum-killing miscues at critical times. "They score and then the next shift, we turn one over instead of just getting it in, and it's another goal. That's the frustrating part. It's been going on for quite a while now with a number of people, and I'm not sure if it's stubbornness, I'm not sure if it's a lack of understanding, but we're going to continue to work at it," Tortorella said.
Scott Harrington played in his 200th NHL game. … Bjorkstrand was hit in the face with a puck late in the first period but returned to the ice in the second with a cage. … Playing in his 699th NHL game, Del Zotto has a 2-1-3 line in his last four games and is plus-5 in that span. ... Max Domi's four-game point streak (2-3-5) came to a close. … Columbus scored first for the 27th time in 45 games but is just 12-8-7 in those contests. … The Blue Jackets are 2-9-2 in the last 13 games. ... The Jackets won 18 of 53 faceoffs. ... Oettinger improved to 4-0-1 against the Blue Jackets this season. ... Columbus fell to 3-3-1 in the season series.
Columbus made a pair of changes to the lineup, inserting rookie Josh Dunne for his NHL debut as well as his old Green Bay Gamblers teammate Andrew Peeke on defense. The two replaced forward Kevin Stenlund and defenseman Mikko Lehtonen. Ryan MacInnis and Gabriel Carlsson also were healthy scratches.
Columbus and Dallas complete the season series on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Lone Star State.