“The thing that pisses me off is we just give them a free one," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said after tonight's game.
He was referring, of course, to a pedestrian-looking overtime goal by the Boston Bruins to earn a valuable second point tonight at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s frustrating," he continued. "It’s a simple 3-on-3, man-on-man, and we just screw it up.”
After 60 minutes of regulation expired, the Blue Jackets and Bruins were tied with five minutes on the board for overtime - and after another solid performance on home ice, Columbus looked poised to continue its torrid pace of late and pick up a third straight win.
In a fast-paced format where the first mistake is usually the last, the Blue Jackets’ trio of Brandon Saad, Alexander Wennberg and Seth Jones lost their coverage and an open Loui Eriksson scored the game-winner on goaltender Joonas Korpisalo 33 seconds into sudden death.
“You can explain it 10 different ways - it’s a blown coverage,” Tortorella added. “I’m really happy with the way we played, but just as upset as far as giving them a free one to lose the game.”
Korpisalo had another solid performance in between the pipes tonight with 28 saves, and he kept the Blue Jackets in the game early.
The Bruins came out of the gates with speed and tenacity, and controlled much of the opening period. Despite more than a few good chances, the rookie netminder remained cool, calm and collected.
Korpisalo stopped all six of the Bruins’ shots in the first six minutes of the first period, while the Jackets recorded their first shot on goaltender Tuukka Rask near the seven-minute mark of the frame.
Wennberg opened the scoring at 9:54 of the first with a backhanded penalty shot goal, which was awarded after he was hooked by Zdeno Chara on a partial breakaway.
The goal marked Wennberg’s sixth of the season, and was also his first career penalty shot/goal as well as the first penalty shot/goal for either team in the all-time series.
But just 4:34 later, a Columbus turnover allowed Boston’s Patrice Bergeron to score on Korpisalo and even the score, 1-1, at 14:28 of the first period.
“We were battling the whole game," Wennberg said. "I mean, we didn’t score many goals but we didn’t allow anything either. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win in overtime, but I think this was a great game from us.”
The second and third periods saw good chances from both sides in a back-and-forth match-up, but the Blue Jackets’ patience is what allowed them to pick up the extra point tonight.
“We have been playing with so much patience and I think playing in structure, (with) everybody contributing… but we just keep on going. I like our presence on the bench. There’s no panic there and we just grind away," Tortorella said. “I thought we were the better team in the second and third period. So I just think we’re playing with confidence.
"I just think guys feel good about themselves and they should feel good about tonight’s game too, even though we come on the wrong end of it. There’s a lot of good things that happened in that game and we've just got to keep on growing from there.”