DEVILS 5 | BLUE JACKETS 2
The Blue Jackets were hoping for the exact opposite result early in tonight's game.
Good feelings about the state of their game didn't last long in the first period against a hungry New Jersey Devils team, and if there's a silver lining, one hopes this was a wake-up call for the Blue Jackets. They had played well against the Devils all season (winning each of the three previous meetings), but tonight, the Blue Jackets were a step slow and an undisciplined start had them swimming upstream.
FINAL: DEVILS 5 | BLUE JACKETS 2
New Jersey scored three goals in the first 8:54 of the game - spanning a window of 2:45 - to bust it open early. Todd Richards had to call his timeout after the third goal to settle things down, or at least get his team a breather. After that, the Blue Jackets found their game for long stretches and closed to within a goal late in the second period.
But their biggest mistake cost them dearly. On the power play in the final minute of the second period, Patrik Elias stole the puck at the line and flipped an alley-oop pass to Adam Henrique, who was in alone behind the Jackets' defense. He went five-hole on Bobrovsky to make it a 4-2 lead for New Jersey, and that was the dagger for Columbus.
Artem Anisimov opened the scoring for the Blue Jackets, making it a 3-1 game late in the first period. Marian Gaborik scored in his first game back to bring Columbus within 3-2.
Henrique's shorthanded goal diffused any sort of rally the Blue Jackets had going - and that's how quickly a game can turn if one team makes a mistake. Columbus, on the power play, had a chance to tie things up headed to the third period but instead found itself with an even steeper hill to climb.
1. ADAM HENRIQUE (NJD)
Two goals tonight for the young Devils center, who was all over the ice and scored what was the biggest goal of the game late in the second period.
2. JAROMIR JAGR (NJD)
This guy's motor never stops going. He was denied by a great Bobrovsky save in the first period, but stayed with the play and deposited career goal No. 699.
3. PATRIK ELIAS (NJD)
A goal and two assists tonight for the savvy veteran, who could have had a couple more goals of his own.
VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS
SATURDAY, 2 P.M.