POST GAME ON THE ROAD presented by:
The Blue Jackets picked up their game and deserved a better fate last night in Los Angeles, but this time, they were beaten by the clock.
Drew Doughty snuck in off the point and buried the game-winning goal with less than a second left in regulation, lifting the Kings to a 3-2 win over Columbus before 18,118 at the STAPLES Center. The goal came after a wild scramble in front of the Blue Jackets net, with a maze of bodies and sticks in shooting lanes after Anze Kopitar unleashed a one-timer from the right circle. Curtis Sanford made the initial save off the blocker and the rebound fell into the slot, where Doughty was there to cash his fourth goal of the year.
Until the final buzzer, the Blue Jackets played a much better game than they did against the San Jose Sharks and battled back from a pair of deficits to come within a half-second of overtime. Justin Williams got the Kings going on the power play early in the first period with a snap-wrister to the top shelf at 8:40, off a cross pass from Doughty.
Columbus answered back early in the second period when Vinny Prospal got a backhand shot away that was kicked out by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, but the rebound went right to Derick Brassard. Rather than firing the puck from an awkward spot, he made a deft pass between his legs on the tape of Derek Dorsett who buried his ninth goal of the season.
Los Angeles took the lead for the second time late in the second period when the Blue Jackets turned the puck over at their own blue line. Dustin Penner took advantage and snapped his fourth of the year inside the near post to make it 2-1 at 14:32.
Colton Gillies was nicely set-up by Antoine Vermette in the early moments of the third, scoring his first goal in 43 games (and first as a Blue Jacket) to even things up at 2-2 at the 4:52 mark. John Moore’s shot was stopped by Quick but corralled by Vermette, who centered to Gillies for a virtual tap-in.
In a game that ends as this one did, there’s no more pivotal moment than the one that decided the game. Doughty’s goal was a huge goal for the Kings and a heartbreaker for the Blue Jackets, because interim head coach Todd Richards felt they earned the opportunity to play for two points in overtime.
Gillies became the 28th player to score a goal for Columbus this season, the most in the NHL. The 28 goal scorers matches the franchise record for goal scorers in a season. It ties the mark set last season and 2003-04.
The Blue Jackets allowed the first goal of the game for the 28th time this season. The club is now 3-23-2 in those games, while going 2-14-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-20-1 when trailing after two periods.
Dorsett snapped a five-game goalless skid with his ninth of the season tonight. The nine goals are a career high and over double his previous best of four set three times (last season, most recent). He has scored seven goals the last 27 games after being held to two goals the first 22 games. He had a team-high four hits on the night to push his season total to 131. He entered the night ranked 27th in the NHL in that category.
Brassard has assists in two of the last three games with a helper on Dorsett’s goal. He has tallied 3-4-7 the last 12 games and has 5-7-12 the last 19 games after being held to 2-3-5 the first 24 games of the season.
vs. Anaheim Ducks
Honda Center | Anaheim, Calif.
Friday, 10 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com