The Blue Jackets started tonight's game with one of their better road periods of the season, but a 21-second stretch felled them tonight at the Honda Center.
Vinny Prospal capitalized on a fast start by the visitors and scored his fifth goal of the season early in the first period, giving Columbus a 1-0 lead with all four lines getting involved and dictating the pace against a Ducks team coming off a lengthy road trip. But the Blue Jackets, despite their strong start, committed a pair of costly turnovers that ended up in the back of their net, wiping out the early lead and putting them in a 2-1 deficit in the blink of an eye.
Nikita Nikitin jumped up into the play while the Blue Jackets were shorthanded and got caught up the ice with Derek Dorsett, which allowed Bobby Ryan to spring Peter Holland on a clear-cut breakaway out of the penalty box. Holland snapped a wrist shot stick side on Sergei Bobrovsky -- who was very good at times in this game -- to even the score at 1-1 and give some life to a Ducks team that was sluggish out of the gate.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Blue Jackets turned the puck over again inside their own zone and it ended up on Ryan Getzlaf's stick right in front of Bobrovsky. Getzlaf shielded the puck and slid it underneath a maze of bodies to give Anaheim its first lead at 2-1, and at the time, it seemed as if every mistake Columbus made would end it up in its net -- but the Blue Jackets bounced back with two solid periods in the second and third.
A questionable holding call on Nick Drazenovic was the only opportunity the Ducks needed early in the third period, and Corey Perry backhanded the puck off Bobrovsky and into the net for a 3-1 lead. The Blue Jackets answered that, as well, on a Derick Brassard goal that came on a delayed penalty to Anaheim. As the minutes ticked away in the third period, the Blue Jackets spent more time inside the Ducks' end but couldn't beat Jonas Hiller a third time.
Despite a late penalty to the Ducks and a 6-on-4 power play, the Blue Jackets were unable to convert and dropped their third straight game on this six-game road trip.
The Blue Jackets could have bent and broken after the Perry goal, but they didn't -- and though they ended up losing the game, I thought it was a crucial juncture for both sides. The Ducks could have taken off and put the game away, but they didn't, and Columbus recognized it. They kept coming and drew the Ducks into a late penalty, putting the pressure on until the final buzzer. Perry's goal kind of woke up the Blue Jackets and ignited a third-period push that nearly got the game tied up.
- Tonight was Sean Collins' NHL debut and the youngster played well alongside Derick Brassard and RJ Umberger. Todd Richards said post-game that he thought it was the best game of the season for Brassard and Umberger, and liked the big-body presence that Colllins provided.
- Bobrovsky made several key stops tonight, but none was more memorable than a sprawling glove save on Kyle Palmieri in the waning minutes of the opening period. Palmieri was set up behind the net and had a point-blank chance, but Bobrovsky slid over and made a highlight-reel grab.
- In his return to the lineup following the birth of his daughter, James Wisniewski's skill set was noticeable on the point, and in particular on the power play. He was split up from usual partner Jack Johnson at even strength and it gave the pairings some balance, Richards said, and it's something we could see more of in the future. Wisniewski picked up an assist on the Brassard goal and his one-timer is a big weapon that the Blue Jackets missed.
at Detroit Red Wings
Joe Louis Arena
Thursday, 7:30 p.m.