Down 2-0 after giving up a goal with 12 seconds left in the second period, the Blue Jackets could easily have played out the final ticks of the clock and tried to mount a big rally in the third.
But they didn’t entertain the thought.
William Karlsson scored a significant goal in the game, bringing Columbus within a goal by scoring on the very next shift, and going into the dressing room, the Blue Jackets had a much different outlook.
They fell behind 3-1 early in the third but scored two of their own to force overtime and prevail in a shootout, earning their third win in four games – this one a 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Nationwide Arena.
“I thought we played a great game tonight and we deserved the two points,” said Brandon Dubinsky, who tied the game on the power play with 5:03 left. “We limited their chances. It’s a really good team over there (Anaheim), they’re really balanced right through their lineup with a lot of skill and scoring. For the most part, we did a really good job tonight.”
His head coach agreed. John Tortorella said tonight’s game was perhaps the Blue Jackets’ most complete effort since he took the job on Oct. 21. Tortorella said his club was in control for the majority of the game, and the only thing missing was a reward for their hard work in the offensive end.
The dam finally broke, and Brandon Saad gave them life with his 20th goal of the season at 6:03 of the third period.
It was a 3-2 game after Saad’s goal and plenty of time remaining, and the Blue Jackets continued to thrust forward. They drew a holding penalty on Anaheim defenseman Josh Manson with 6:27 to play, and after the first Columbus power play unit failed to generate many chances, the second wave hopped over the boards with a direct approach.
They attacked and cashed in, and the tying goal began with a terrific play by Seth Jones to wait patiently for a lane to open, find Nick Foligno high in the slot, and keep it going. Foligno snapped a pass across to Dubinsky, who was denied on the first chance by Frederik Andersen but managed to sneak the rebound inside the post.
“We had a sense of urgency – they have the best kill in the league and we knew that coming in,” Dubinsky said of the power play. “At the end of the day, 33 percent is 1-for-3. The boys stepped up. I got a little lucky; I double-clutched it there. But when you’re working hard, you get some bounces, and I was happy to get one there.”
They came up empty in overtime despite a handful of quality opportunities, but at the other end, Joonas Korpisalo (24 saves) kept a fairly tidy house. The Ducks didn’t have much to show for in overtime, but the best chance was a dash to the net by Ryan Getzlaf that Korpisalo calmly poked away.
And another moment that encouraged Tortorella? The way the Blue Jackets picked up their young netminder after a shaky third Anaheim goal; rather than tighten up, they pressed on and stuck with it, a positive sign for a young team still trying to find its way.
“We felt like we were in that game. We did a lot of good things, they got some timely saves…I liked our attitude, our effort and our intensity,” said Foligno. “I thought everyone, throughout the lineup, was emotionally engaged. We played hard. That’s what we need to have every time we step on the ice.”