FLAMES (3-3-2) 4, BLUE JACKETS (3-6-2) 3 -- OVERTIME
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
This one will sting a little bit.
A decent first period followed by a lackluster second period set the stage for an entertaining third period tonight at Nationwide Arena, but one mistake in overtime cost the Blue Jackets a second point. Alex Tanguay buried a cross-ice feed from Jarome Iginla after Columbus got caught up-ice and gave the Flames a 4-3 win after facing a late third period power play from the home side.
With 1:50 left in regulation, the Blue Jackets got their chance: Lee Stempniak was called for holding as Matt Calvert drove hard to the net and put Columbus on the power play for the duration -- but they could not get anything going. Their best opportunity came seconds after the power play had expired in overtime, when Artem Anisimov sent a backhand pass into the slot for a wide open Fedor Tyutin, but the shot missed the target and Calgary countered the other way.
Columbus shook off an opening goal from Roman Cervenka at 4:19 of the first period to carry a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Calvert tied the game 25 seconds after the Cervenka tally and Mark Letestu began his stellar night with a power play goal at 9:37, and at the time, momentum was firmly in the Blue Jackets' favor. They were hitting, skating well, and played a clean game between the blue lines to take away the stretch pass that Calgary went back to all night long.
The Flames rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the third period on a wicked shot by Stempniak off the rush. With four seconds left in a Calgary power play, Stempniak flew solo down the right side and cranked a slap shot high over Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Flames their first lead since the Cervenka goal -- but the Blue Jackets let it roll off them. Letestu set up the tying goal 11 minutes into the third period on a great play in the neutral zone, leading the rush into the attacking end before dropping a pass to Vinny Prospal in the high slot. Prospal took one look and snapped a shot past Irving to draw Columbus even again
The late-game power play was the biggest and most crucial juncture of the hockey game. Columbus didn't execute well and couldn't establish any presence in the Flames end, and their best chance went by the wayside.
- Tim Erixon picked up a point for the second straight game, earning a helper on the Calvert opening goal. He was a +2 on the night, as well, and logged all but six seconds of his ice time at even strength.
- Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin were the horses on the back end tonight for Columbus. In his first game back from injury, Nikitin logged 27:53 and fired a game-high seven shots on goal. Tyutin led all players with 29:13 (a season high for him) but was a -2 on the night.
- One of Letestu's best games in quite some time, perhaps since he joined the Blue Jackets last season. He deservedly played up in the lineup alongside Prospal and Calvert and the trio was one of Columbus' most effective lines tonight. Letestu picked up a goal and an assist with a +2 rating in nearly 17 minutes of ice time.
vs. Edmonton Oilers
Sunday, 6 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 FM & BlueJackets.com