The Blue Jackets got a point but lost 4-3 in overtime to St. Louis on Friday night at the Enterprise Center.
Game in a Paragraph
The Blue Jackets had energy throughout the first two periods but found themselves tied after each of those frames, 1-1 after one and 3-3 after two. St. Louis pushed in the third and even had a late power play, but Columbus survived to force overtime. It just took eight seconds into overtime for David Perron to get the winner, though, just as the CBJ penalty expired.
Video: CBJ Recap: Blue Jackets edged by Blues in overtime
Quote of the Game
Head coach John Tortorella: "We took a step in the right direction for sure. We played a good hockey game. Third period, I thought we were on our heels just a little bit at certain times in the end, but it's a step in the right direction. To lose that way, it's a tough one."
- Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his team-best sixth goal of the season and extended his personal point streak to five games (3-3-6), tying a career high. He had a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game of the season.
- Sonny Milano scored his third goal of the year and has a 3-3-6 line in the last seven games.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a goal to earn his 100th career point, added an assist, had a team-high five shots on goal and was plus-2.
Video: Torts felt the team played tonight.
Columbus came out flying with an early 6-1 shot edge, including a chance by Josh Anderson on a breakaway after a blocked shot that the big forward sent high after making his move on goalie Jordan Binnington.
But it was the Blues who took a 1-0 lead at 14:05 as the game settled down. A quick passing play got the puck to a spinning Tyler Bozak at the right post, and as goalie Elvis Merzlikins came over to play him, the forward spotted Robert Thomas going back door and fed him the puck for the stuff home.
Columbus tied the game with just 4.7 seconds left in the period on a quick breakout. David Savard and Cam Atkinson got the puck forward to Gustav Nyquist along the right side as he entered the zone, and his inch-perfect pass to Dubois cutting to the net gave the big CBJ center the chance to redirect it past Binnington.
After big early stops on Bjorkstrand by Binnington and Mackenzie MacEachern by Merzlikins, Columbus looked as though it had claimed control of the game through the opening 11 minutes of the second as the Blue Jackets took a 3-1 lead.
Milano gave Columbus the lead 5:41 into the period, as Binnington spilled a rebound of a Scott Harrington shot and Milano jumped on it from a sharp angle low on the right to make it a 2-1 game.
Bjorkstrand then doubled the lead with a power-play goal at 10:36. Alexander Wennberg's shot was blocked in front, but Dubois swiped it across the crease and Bjorkstrand drove it home from low on the left to increase the lead to 3-1.
But St. Louis countered with two goals in a 26-second span. The first was a power-play marker at 12:07, as the Blues entered the zone with speed and found the trailing forward, Brayden Schenn, who took a drop pass, had time and unleashed a perfect shot over Merzlikins' glove.
The game was tied at 3 on the next shift, as Oskar Sundqvist got open at the back post on a feed from Ivan Barbashev. His initial shot was blocked in desperation but he jumped on the rebound and put it past Merzlikins, who had committed to the first shot.
St. Louis nearly took the lead on the first shift of the third, as Vladislav Gavrikov lost an edge giving Sundqvist a good look alone on Merzlikins, who made the save then stoned Mackenzie MacEachern on the rebound as well. Merzlikins also made a big save with less than eight minutes to go as Jaden Schwartz took a seeing-eye pass on a cross-crease pass, but the CBJ goalie got over with the blocker to deny him.
Columbus nearly took the lead with 5:30 to play as Binnington misplayed a puck behind his net, but desperate defending kept the Blue Jackets from getting a shot on goal until the goalie returned to the cage.
The game went to overtime, but it took just eight seconds. Just as Milano exited the box and the power play ended for St. Louis, Perron was open off a feed from Alex Pietrangelo, toe-dragged into the slot and scored past Merzlikins' blocker for the winner.
1. If the game was a referendum on urgency, the Blue Jackets passed the test. After two straight performances where Columbus struggled, the team had energy from the very beginning and was the better team through two periods. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Blue Jackets had a 10-3 edge at 5-on-5 in high-danger chances through the opening two periods. St. Louis closed that gap in the third, but in all it was a better performance for Columbus. "When you play two clunkers like we just played, they're unacceptable games and we wanted to change that," Seth Jones said. "We took a step in the right direction tonight."
2. Merzlikins was likely always going to get the start in St. Louis on the front end of a back-to-back, but he also deserved the chance after his solid showing in relief Wednesday. He turned in another credible performance, making some tremendously athletic saves, but still is chasing that elusive first win thanks to overtime losses in his last two games. He also showed he's not afraid to challenge shooters, which led to some big stops but also might have contributed to the first and third goals as the Blues were able to take advantage of his aggresiveness. "I am starting to challenge the players," he said. "I'm trying not to be any more scared." In all, "he was good," Tortorella said.
3. If the Blue Jackets are going to be a playoff team this year, here's a stat that can't keep happening: Columbus has now given up four two-goal leads on the season in 13 games. The Blue Jackets are 2-1-1 on the year in those games, so it's not all bad, but with a team that's likely not going to lead the league in scoring, it has to keep the leads it has. This one took just 26 seconds to disappear thanks to a power-play goal and a defensive breakdown. "It sucks," Bjorkstrand said. "You gotta find a way to keep that lead."
Columbus had a 30-27 shot edge. ... Dubois scored for the fifth straight road game. … Nyquist has points in all six road games this season (2-4-6). … Bjorkstrand's point was his first since Oct. 12 at Carolina. … The Blue Jackets now have points (3-0-3) in all six games in which they've entered the third period tied. ... The Blue Jackets have gone to overtime six times in 13 games and are 3-3 in extra time. ... Columbus fell to 0-5-3 when giving up the first goal.
Harrington went into the lineup in place of Markus Nutivaara, who was a healthy scratch along with countryman Markus Hannikainen.
Columbus returns to Nationwide Arena for the second half of a back-to-back as the Blue Jackets host Calgary on Saturday night at 7 p.m.