The Blue Jackets lost their first matinee game of the season, falling 4-3 in overtime to Ottawa on Saturday afternoon in the Canadian Tire Centre despite an impressive third-period comeback.
Game in a Paragraph
It was a rough start for the Blue Jackets, who fell into a 3-1 hole and also saw Sonny Milano, Josh Anderson and Ryan Murray all leave the game because of injuries. But Columbus dominated the third period and tied the score with a pair of goals from Alexandre Texier. In overtime, Columbus lost for the second straight game on the penalty kill as former Blue Jackets forward Anthony Duclair completed a hat trick.
Video: CBJ Recap: Texier ties it late as rally falls short
Quote of the Game
Forward Eric Robinson on playing short three players for much of the game: "I think when things like that happen, you can rally around it for sure. Obviously it's tough when you lose important guys to the team. We did a good job rallying in the third, we just came up short."
- Cam Atkinson scored his eighth goal of the year and his fourth in the last five games. He has eight goals in his last 11 games vs. Ottawa.
- Texier scored twice and has a 3-2-4 line in his last six games. His six goals on the year are tied for fourth among NHL rookies.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois and Robinson both earned a pair of assists on third-period goals.
It took 2:16 for Ottawa to take the lead as Duclair got on the board. He came into the zone and fired a wrist shot as he crossed the top of the slot that beat goalie Elvis Merzlikins far side for his 16th goal of the year.
Columbus tied it at 4:55 though, as Atkinson made it 1-1. Off a fantastic feed from Murray, he was sprung on a breakaway, made his patented deke and appeared to be robbed by the glove of Ottawa goalie Anders Nilsson, but video review showed the puck completely crossed the line in the glove.
Just 5:18 into the game, the Blue Jackets suffered their first injury blow of the game as Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki hit Milano into the boards as he was falling, leaving the CBJ forward prone on the ice. He eventually got to his feet and skated off with help from trainers, and Borowiecki fought Anderson at the start of the next shift.
Ottawa increased the lead to 2-1 at 12:05 as Duclair got his second of the game. A long chip out of the zone by Ron Hainsey ended up bouncing onto the stick of Artem Anisimov for a 2-on-1, and the pass from Anisimov over to Duclair led to an easy finish past Merzlikins. All three players who earned points on the play are former Blue Jackets.
The Sens thought they had made it 3-1 later in the period as Nick Paul was fed in and fired past Merzlikins, but head coach John Tortorella challenged for offside and the goal was overturned. Still, Merzlikins was subbed out after the second period with six saves on eight shots against, with Joonas Korpisalo coming in.
"He didn't (have it)," head coach John Tortorella said. "It's something we can't have right now."
Even with Korpisalo on, a sequence about eight minutes into the period proved crucial. First, the Jackets got a 2-on-0 after Atkinson forced a turnover in the neutral zone, but Nilsson went to full extension to stop Atkinson's shot after a return pass from Nick Foligno.
Moments after, CBJ defenseman Dean Kukan had a puck hop over his stick at the blue line and Connor Brown had a breakaway, and he faked a move before beating Korpisalo through the legs to make it 3-1 at 7:17.
Columbus started to generate a pushback in the third period, highlighted by Texier's goal at 4:44. Nilsson made a stop on Robinson at the doorstep, but the Jackets got the puck back and Dubois fed it to Texier in the slot for a quick wrister past the Ottawa goalie.
It was Texier again who tied it with 7:29 to go as well. The Blue Jackets camped in the Ottawa zone after the first Texier goal, and another strong shift led to the tying tally as Dubois found the Frenchman alone in front and he fired past Nilsson to make it a 3-3 game.
Video: CBJ@OTT: Texier fires home Dubois' great feed
The game went to overtime from there, and Atkinson had a great chance to end it 1:24 into the extra frame on a breakaway but was denied by the glove of Nilsson. Oliver Bjorkstrand also had a look off the ensuing faceoff, but Alexander Wennberg took a slashing penalty as the play went the other way. Shortly after Ottawa won the draw, Duclair was fed for a one-timer on the right side and beat Korpisalo for the winning goal.
1. If there was a game that might sum up the CBJ season so far, this was it. There were a number of good moments -- the third-period comeback in general was dominating -- but there were too many mistakes in the end. The starting goalie didn't have it, as Tortorella said, while Kukan's unfortunate puck-handling miscue and the overtime penalty led to goals. Add in the injuries and it was a wild game, one where the Blue Jackets felt they did enough to win but also did enough to lose. "What a comeback," Korpisalo said. "I think we played really good there, came back, but again, we just couldn't finish it." Added Tortorella: "They played hard. They stayed with it. We had a chance to win it before we take the penalty, so some good things there."
2. Ottawa is a team that makes it hard to get through the neutral zone, so the Blue Jackets just didn't let them get out of their own end zone in the third. Columbus spent shift after shift in the Sens' end in the final 20 minutes, outworking the home team for pucks and winning 50-50 battles as well as establishing a dominant down-low cycling presence that led to numerous chances including Texier's goals. "They clog things up pretty good in the neutral zone," Robinson said. "If we can get in behind them and get on our forecheck, I think that's when we're at our best. I think the third period was a product of that." It's a recipe the Blue Jackets will have to copy more consistently going forward.
3. If you're a Blue Jackets fan, you've heard this story before. Of course it was Duclair who got the hat trick, as the former Blue Jacket showed off the offensive capabilities that made him such an intriguing prospect a year ago before being sent to Ottawa in the Ryan Dzingel deal. At the time, it seemed like a reasonable risk, but the talented forward has taken off in Ottawa. To a man, the Blue Jackets are happy for his success, but wish it hadn't happened on this day. "He's a good player," Dubois said. "Sometimes you get an opportunity and it's refreshing. He's been playing really well since he's been in Ottawa. He played good in Columbus, but he has a good role here and a lot of confidence."
Seth Jones played his 500th NHL game, while Sonny Milano suited up for the 100th time as a Blue Jacket. ... Korpisalo stopped 17 of 19 shots in relief. ... Columbus outshot Ottawa 20-5 in the third period. ... Columbus had 41 shots on goal, with Nilsson stopping 38. ... The Blue Jackets had won five straight games vs. the Senators. ... Columbus went 0-for-4 on the power play while the Senators were 1-for-3. ... Former Blue Jackets players/prospects to suit up in the game for the Sens included Duclair, Anisimov, Hainsey, forward Jonathan Davidsson and defenseman Codu Goloubef. ... The Blue Jackets remain winless when ceding the first goal (0-10-5). ... Though two of them are losses, the Blue Jackets have a three-game point streak. ... Columbus fell to 4-6 in extra time.
Columbus kept the same lineup as the last two games, with Emil Bemstrom (injury) and Scott Harrington the scratches.
With a four-game road trip over, the Blue Jackets head home for a return engagement with Washington on Monday night.