After battling back not once but twice, the Blue Jackets pushed the New York Islanders into overtime when the game ended with a 2-2 tie at the end of 60 minutes of regulation at Nationwide Arena.
Cam Atkinson notched the Jackets’ second equalizer of the game at 8:20 of the third and, despite a few good chances from both sides, it appeared that the game would go into overtime.
But with 46.5 seconds left in regulation, Boone Jenner put the puck past Islanders’ goaltender Jaroslav Halak and, to the delight of the home crowd, into the back of the net for an apparent go-ahead goal.
Although, after a lengthy review, it was determined that Jenner propelled the puck into the net with a kicking motion and the goal was wiped out.
In 3-on-3 overtime, where the first mistake is usually the last, the Blue Jackets turned the puck over and it cost them. Kyle Okposo's second goal of the night came on a 2-on-0 break in overtime and sealed a 3-2 win for the visitors.
“We played better,” head coach John Tortorella said. “We found a way to come back (and) get a point. I thought some of the things we struggled with (previously), as far as coming out of our end zone, we were much better tonight. So we’re going to try to keep it positive and build on it.”
“I thought it was a pretty good game for us throughout, especially near the end of the second,” Jenner added. “There a good push and coming out in the third, I though we were solid. We got it back tied, twice and we've just got to find a way to win those.”
The Islanders picked up the two points, putting them at 6-0-2 against Metropolitan Division teams this season and 7-0-2 in their last nine games overall.
The Blue Jackets surrendered the opening goal after Gregory Campbell's exit pass was picked off by Okposo in the left circle. It gave him a clean look at Curtis McElhinney and Okposo ripped it glove side for a 1-0 lead at 15:21 of the first period.
Columbus evened the score in the second period after Boone Jenner fed Brandon Saad the puck from behind the net. With some traffic in front of Halak, the puck deflected off of Saad’s skate and into the back of the net at 5:08 of the second period, making it a 1-1 tie.
But the Blue Jackets were unable to hold off the Islanders for long.
At 6:05 of the second, Kevin Connauton was sent to the penalty box for holding and 1:05 later, Frans Nielsen put the Islanders ahead 2-1.
“You've got to find a way to get points,” Tortorella said. “With the situation we’re in, I’m happy that we came back to get one, but we’ve got to try to figure out getting that extra point in these types of games if we’re going to get from underneath the water.
“We’re not going to get down. I know our record is what it is. I suggest that we shouldn’t even look at it. We've just got to keep on trying to get better each and every day, and I thought we took a step in the right direction tonight.”