The Blue Jackets dropped a 2-1 decision against Anaheim in a Friday night contest in Nationwide Arena.
Game in a Paragraph
After a quiet first period, Anaheim built a 2-0 lead in the second period with two goals less than two minutes apart, but Columbus battled back to make it a one-goal game going to the third. Despite some chances in the third, the Blue Jackets couldn't tie it.
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "We didn't give them much. Last two games I think they had seven or eight chances tonight. Last game, I think it was six or seven. I think the big play is when they score, we get a little unlucky when it hits the ref's skate. They score, and then we give up an odd-man rush and it's in our net. Those are the plays -- we just can't go there and give up an odd-man rush. We had opportunities to score and we didn't. I don't think we were sharp with a lot of our plays. We were just a little sloppy with our execution. So we go play another game."
- Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his first goal of the year and now has tallied in three straight games vs. Anaheim. He also won 7 of 11 faceoffs.
- Joonas Korpisalo made 22 saves and allowed two goals against the Ducks.
- Seth Jones had an assist and a number of scoring chances in his 25:38.
There wasn't much to be had in a scoreless first period in which the Blue Jackets escaped with a 9-8 edge in shots on goal. At one point, the teams went 7:37 without a whistle and just two shots on goal in that span. There were a few chances, though, as Anaheim goalie Ryan Miller used the full length of his pad to deny a Gustav Nyquist wraparound, while the Korpisalo made a nice left pad stop on a late snap shot from the right circle by Ondrej Kase.
The Blue Jackets nearly took the lead 30 seconds into the middle period on the power play as Oliver Bjorkstrand loaded up a slap shot, but the CBJ right wing hit the crossbar square.
Columbus had the ice tilted toward Miller for the first half of the second period, but Anaheim fought back and scored twice in 1:57 to take a 2-0 lead. The first goal came shorthanded at 12:59, as a bad bounce off a ref gave the Ducks a 2-on-1 and Jakob Silfverberg buried a rebound of a shot by Richard Rakell.
Anaheim doubled the lead at 14:56 on a transition goal by Cam Fowler. On a 3-on-2 rush, Ondrej Kase dropped a pass to Fowler in the right circle and he fired past Korpisalo's blocker.
But the Blue Jackets got a big goal with 3:44 left in the frame to make it 2-1 as Dubois scored. The young centerman took a pass from Seth Jones and steamed into the zone, got low on the left and fired a sharp-angle shot that hit the shoulder of Miller and went into the net.
Columbus had a great chance to tie the score three minutes into the third as Bjorkstrand teed up a shot, but Miller read it well and made a tidy glove save. The Jackets also had a great shorthanded chance midway through the third, but Miller poked the puck away from Jones after he was fed in alone.
"I thought I made a pretty good move," Jones said. "He just got the poke out in front of me when I went to the backhand."
Finally, with just over five minutes to play, Jones hit the post with a clapper after the Blue Jackets won a faceoff in the offensive zone. Columbus also pushed for the last two minutes with the net empty but couldn't find the tying goal.
1. A tight affair: Well, that was the kind of game this always was going to be. Anaheim's structure and identity is to play a solid defensive game, while the Blue Jackets have focused this year on being above the puck and not giving up much in transition. After a sleepy, sloppy first period, the second opened up, and the goals were had, but there wasn't anything else in the way of scoring. "I don't think either team wanted to open up," Jones said. "Anaheim plays a very heavy game. They are going to check you all night long. They're going to make you earn everything."
2. Scoring issues: So what can the Blue Jackets do better to score more goals? The team had some periods of the game where it was rampant, including early in the second period and at points in the third. Yet the result of 57 shot attempts was just one goal when facing a 39-year-old goalie making his first start of the season. All hockey teams are going to go through struggles with scoring, but it feels like a big deal after the Blue Jackets began the year having to answer questions about losing some key offensive players. Tortorella said there were some structural issues early with the forwards being too far in front of the defensemen rather than moving in a five-man unit, but the Blue Jackets did have their chances in the final 30 minutes of the game. Finishing, however, let them down. "It's something you have to play through," Dubois said. "You just have to keep going. It'll turn around at some point. There's 82 games."
3. Patience, again: But the mistake that left the team more frustrated than any other was allowing the second goal to Anaheim on a 3-on-2 rush. Patience has been a key theme for the team thus far, and that means not opening up and chasing offense, rather letting it come to you. The key is to avoid odd-man rushes that leave the goaltending out to dry. Instead, less than two minutes after Anaheim took the lead, Columbus gave up the odd-man rush that ended up in the net. "We can't open ourselves up like that," Jones said. "We paid the price. Ultimately that is the mistake that cost us the game."
Anaheim has now killed 15 of 16 penalties this year, while the CBJ power play fell to 3-for-12 on the year with an 0-3 performance. … Columbus killed Anaheim's only power play, keeping the Ducks scoreless on the man advantage this season. … Fowler had a hat trick in a game between the teams a year ago. ... The game was Anaheim's first regulation win in Columbus in six tries.
Josh Anderson (upper-body injury, day-to-day) was placed on injured reserve before the game and fellow winger Markus Hannikainen was recalled from AHL Cleveland. Hannikainen was a scratch along with defensemen Scott Harrington and Dean Kukan as the Blue Jackets kept the same lineup as Monday's win vs. Buffalo.
Columbus hits the road again to complete the back-to-back, playing Saturday night in Carolina at 7 p.m. (FSO, 97.1 The Fan).