The Blue Jackets lost their third straight Thursday night at Nationwide Arena, falling 3-2 to the New York Rangers despite a season-high 47 shots on goal.
Game in a Paragraph
It was a tale of three games for the Blue Jackets. After a scorching start that included a 1-0 lead, Columbus gave up three straight goals to fall into a 3-1 hole after two. The team was flying in the third, though, and got one back but couldn't find the tying goal.
Video: Condensed Game: Rangers @ Blue Jackets
Quote of the Game
CBJ captain Nick Foligno: "This one feels like if we would have come in here with a win, I would have said we got what we deserved tonight."
- Cam Atkinson scored his fifth goal of the year.
- Foligno had an assist to reach 300 points for his Jackets career, making him the fourth member of the franchise to reach the mark, joining Rick Nash, Atkinson and David Vyborny.
- Seth Jones scored his fourth goal of the season.
Columbus dominated the opening period and had some great scoring chances early, including two looks for Emil Bemstrom, one that went wide and one that hit the post. Oliver Bjorkstrand also was robbed by New York goalie Alexandar Georgiev with a toe save on a power-play rebound.
But Columbus did get the first goal at 12:43 of the frame. On the rush and with Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei without a stick, Foligno dropped a pass to Atkinson, who fired through the legs of Georgiev from the high slot.
Columbus had an 18-6 edge in shots on goal in the first, but all that good work went for naught when the Rangers tied it with 8.0 seconds left in the period. A nifty no-look, backhand pass from Mika Zibanejad from behind the net found Brendan Lemieux in front, and he snuck it through the wickets of Korpisalo to make it a 1-1 game.
The Rangers then took the lead in the second period with a pair of goals. New York made it 2-1 5:46 into the period as Jacob Trouba took a pass in the left circle and wristed one off the far post and in past Korpisalo.
Then the Rangers doubled the lead with 15:32 to go in the period as Artemi Panarin tallied on a nice passing play after the Jackets got caught on a change. Tony DeAngelo took a pass in the slot then fed it off low on the left to Panarin, who had an easy one-time finish past Korpisalo.
Vladislav Gavrikov hit the post moments later and the Blue Jackets were down 3-1 going to the third. But it took just 3:33 into the period for the team to get back within one, as Jones took the puck at the left point, weaved his way to the front of the net and fired over Georgiev's glove.
The Rangers challenged the goal for goaltender interference but were not successful, gifting the Jackets a power play. Bjorkstrand again had some excellent looks but couldn't find paydirt.
Bemstrom had a third great look of the night from in front of the net off a feed from Pierre-Luc Dubois, but he chipped it over the cage with just over five minutes to go. Columbus then got a power play with 2:10 to go but Bjorkstrand was robbed again on a rebound by Georgiev then later hit the post with 17 seconds to go, but the tying goal just couldn't be found.
1. It's almost becoming the theater of the absurd at times with how the Blue Jackets are unable to get the goals needed to win games. Tonight, the team had a 47-19 edge in shots on goal, an 85-39 edge in shot attempts, drew five penalties to two for the Rangers and per Natural Stat Trick had a 3.02-1.09 edge in expected goals at 5-on-5, yet it's another loss. Here's another absurd stat: Bjorkstrand finished with a CBJ-record-tying 10 shots on goal and 17 shot attempts and still couldn't find paydirt. There is an onus on the Jackets to put the puck in the net, but sometimes it's there's some bad luck at play, too. Head coach John Tortorella had a one-word answer when asked if his team deserved a better fate: "Yes."
2. Yet, the team made enough mistakes to lose the game. There was a goal allowed in the final 10 seconds of a period, something of a trend this year. There was the bad change that led to Panarin's game-winner, and there was a penalty that led to another goal as well. When the margins are so tight, mistakes can be daggers. They certainly are right now for the Blue Jackets. "We just beat ourselves there, and we just don't have any room for error," Tortorella said.
3. OK, well, you can't tell the story of the game without talking about the return of Panarin, the standout forward who had two great years on the ice with the Blue Jackets before heading to the Rangers in the offseason in free agency. His goal goes down as the difference maker, and the Nationwide Arena faithful let their feelings be known each time he touched the puck as well as when a tribute video was shown during the first media timeout. "It was a great two years," Panarin said of his time in Columbus. In all, he had five shots on goal and eight total attempts in 19:41. "He is always noticeable out there the way he can make plays, but we knew if we had the puck, it would be hard for him to make any plays or do what he does best," Foligno said. "He found those open areas to find a goal. It's unfortunate."
The Blue Jackets completed a stretch in which eight of 10 games were at home. The team went 5-3-0 in the games at Nationwide Arena. … Riley Nash played in his 500th NHL game and 101st with the Blue Jackets. … Columbus had been 5-0-1 in the last six vs. the Rangers and 3-0-1 in the last four games at home. … 11-3-1 when scoring first. … Columbus went 0-for-5 on the power play while the Rangers were 1-for-2. ... Columbus played its 18th one-goal game in 28 games, falling to 9-5-4. ... The Blue Jackets had been 3-0-0 this year on Thursdays and 22-4-1 in its last 27 Thursday games.
The Blue Jackets made two chances to the lineup, inserting forward Bemstrom and defenseman Andrew Peeke into the lineup in place of Eric Robinson and Scott Harrington, respectively.
The Blue Jackets begin a four-game road trip Saturday night when they face the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m.