In two of their last three games away from Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets have outplayed opponents for long stretches of games only to come away with a single point.
Last night at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Columbus weathered an early storm from the Devils and came on strong in the third period, tying the game on a Jared Boll goal six minutes into the final stanza. It was born out of another strong play from Vinny Prospal, who cycled the puck up to Marc Methot. Methot's slap shot toward Martin Brodeur deflected into the net off the skate of Boll, who was camped at the top of the crease and the Blue Jackets pulled even.
Dainius Zubrus gave the Devils the lead 4:09 into the second period, potting a rebound off rookie defenseman Adam Larsson’s point shot. The Blue Jackets put on quite the charge from that point forward; they out-shot the Devils 19-7 in the third period and overtime combined.
All that lacked for their effort was a second chink in Brodeur’s armor, but to the future Hall-of-Famer’s credit, he was outstanding between the pipes for New Jersey.
Jeff Carter and R.J. Umberger each had prime scoring opportunities in overtime but could not beat Brodeur. Curtis Sanford made a huge stop on Zach Parise as the sudden-death period wound down, one of 23 stops for the Columbus netminder.
In the shootout, Ilya Kovalchuk scored five-hole on Sanford and Parise followed with a gorgeous deke to the backhand. Rick Nash and Mark Letestu were stopped by Brodeur, giving the Devils a 2-1 victory. The Blue Jackets remained winless at Prudential Center, falling to 0-3-2 all-time in Newark. Columbus is 3-1-2 in its past six games.
The Blue Jackets found their game in the second period and pressed hard for the tying goal. Through two periods of play, Columbus put 17 shots toward Brodeur but came up empty each time. They doubled that output in the third period along, and were rewarded with Boll’s first goal of the season.
Columbus allowed just one scoring chance to the Devils in the third period and had several chances to win the game. Without question, Boll changed the complexion of the game when he beat Brodeur.
- The Blue Jackets allowed the first goal of the game 13th time this season. They are now 1-10-2 in those games, while going 1-5-2 when tied after the first period and 0-8-1 when trailing after two periods. Columbus is now 3-7-2 all-time against the Devils.
- Boll snapped a six-game goalless skid with his first of the season tonight. He last scored Apr. 9 vs. Buffalo. The goal comes in his 298th career NHL game and he now has 21-23-44.
- Methot picked up his first assist in four games with a helper on Boll’s goal. He last had an assist Nov. 12 vs. Winnipeg. He played 23:33 tonight and delivered two hits.
- How about Prospal? He picked up yet another point tonight, and has points in three-straight games after registering an assist on Boll’s goal. He has 1-4-5 the last three games and has points in 14 of 21 games this season. Dating back to last season, he has collected 15-27-42 his last 50 games. He leads the club in goals (6), assists (13) and points (19).
- Can’t say enough about Sanford, who has been phenomenal in the Columbus net since making his season debut in Boston. He remained unbeaten in regulation as he stopped 23-of-24 shots tonight. He has gone 2-0-2 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in five games with the Blue Jackets this season.
vs. Buffalo Sabres
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, OH
Friday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: CD102.5 FM & BlueJackets.com