RED WINGS (1-1-0) 4, BLUE JACKETS (1-0-1) 3 -- SHOOTOUT
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OHIO
Two games, two shootouts, three points in the standings. If you asked the Blue Jackets if they'd accept that result three days ago, most would take it.
But there was still a prevailing feeling of disappointment inside the Columbus dressing room tonight after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings at Nationwide Arena. It was, after all, opening night and a sold-out crowd of 19,206 (the largest regular season crowd in arena history) was willing them forward in the second and third periods. If this wasn't a playoff atmosphere at the rink tonight, it was darn close.
Detroit came out and threw the first punch just 70 seconds into the second period on Brian Lashoff's first goal of the season. After a dazzling first period that included 13 saves, Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrobsky never saw Lashoff's shot from the point and it snuck through his blocking arm for a 1-0 lead.
Ian White slid down the back side and roofed one over Bobrovksy at 14:06 of the second, taking advantage of a Columbus breakdown in the defensive zone. The momentum was then totally in Detroit's favor, but the Blue Jackets got one back thanks to a combination play from a couple of their talented youngsters 1:14 later.
Ryan Johansen sprung Cam Atkinson free with a 100-foot home run pass, and Atkinson put one forehand deke on Jimmy Howard before burying the puck in the open side.
Trailing 2-1 at the dawn of the third period, the Blue Jackets came out guns blazing. James Wisniewski rifled in a one-timer off a Derick Brassard pass at 3:24 of the third period, and Vinny Prospal gave Columbus its first lead with a power play tally at 8:43.
The building was alive, and if not for one more breakdown, the result may have been different. Pavel Datsyuk found himself alone at the far post and Niklas Kronwall slid a pass through a hole in Blue Jackets coverage, and at 13:56, the game was tied again.
Rookie forward Damien Brunner scored the only goal in the shootout (and it was a dandy) to give the Red Wings two points tonight.
Atkinson's goal was the tide-turner in this one. The Blue Jackets were backed up in their own end and needed a spark, and the 23-year-old sniper gave them a lift. Johansen's pass was spectacular but the finish was even better, and it brought the crowd back to life late in the second period.
-- Bobrovsky finished with 39 saves on 42 shots, and has stopped 71-of-76 in his first two appearances as a Blue Jacket. Todd Richards said after the game that things may have been far different if Bobrovsky wasn't on point in the opening period, and it's hard to argue.
-- Atkinson was everywhere tonight, and seemingly in the middle of a lot of big plays for the Blue Jackets. He had a potential shootout goal waved off because of a second attempt, but he played 15:09 tonight and registered a team-high five shots on goal. You can tell Columbus feeds off the energy that comes from his goals.
-- A lot of special teams work tonight meant limited ice for John Moore and Adrian Aucoin, who played a combined 19:37 in the game.
-- Jack Johnson led all players in ice time, logging 32:04 tonight. He was a +1 and finished with three shots on goal. His "rover" ability helped open the passing lane from Brassard to Wisniewski on the 2-2 goal, and opposing teams have to be on alert when Johnson's moving the puck.
-- Matt Calvert might have been the best Blue Jackets forward tonight. He and Atkinson saw time on the penalty kill in the third period, and the Columbus fourth line was a source of pure energy throughout the game.
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