STARS (10-8-2) 5, BLUE JACKETS (5-12-3) 4 -- OVERTIME
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OHIO
The Blue Jackets hadn't been involved in any games that one would call "barn burners," but that was until tonight.
In a wild back-and-forth game with the Dallas Stars, the Blue Jackets trailed four times but rallied to tie things up four times before falling 5-4 in overtime on a spectacular goal by Loui Eriksson. And for the fourth straight game, the Blue Jackets lost a player to injury as Derick Brassard left the game after the second period with an upper body injury and did not return.
Playing the second game of a back-to-back set and arriving late last night from Nashville, the Stars certainly did not look like a club that was 1-15-2 on the second leg of back-to-backs (dating to last season) coming into the game. They were the fresher and more aggressive team, and made sure to get pucks on the net and make the Blue Jackets come the length of the ice to get scoring chances.
Sergei Bobrovsky was not at his best tonight in the Columbus net, but the Blue Jackets finally got him some run support in what turned out to be an entertaining third period. Trailing 3-2 with 20 minutes to play, the Blue Jackets got on their horse. Cam Atkinson scored his second goal of the season -- and first since opening night at Nationwide Arena against Detroit -- to tie the game at the 6:16 mark of the third period.
Dallas would counter with a goal from Cody Eakin that seemed harmless as it developed. Eakin skated in down the right wing and snapped a contested wrist shot on net, but it squeezed through Bobrovsky and trickled over the goal line at 13:36.
And once again, back came the Blue Jackets.
Nick Foligno raced to the far side to track down a loose puck and found RJ Umberger hanging out in the high slot. Umberger took one look and beat Richard Bachman clean to the stick side, pulling Columbus even with 1:34 to play and bringing the crowd to life.
Overtime, though, was mostly controlled by the visitors. The game-winner was created by a healthy Bobrovsky rebound off his right pad, and none of the Blue Jackets could box out Eriksson at the front of the net. Eriksson danced around one defender, and while falling, tucked the winning goal into the net at 3:03 of overtime.
The Eakin goal energized the Stars in a third period that tilted in Columbus' favor as it grew older. The Blue Jackets were in good shape at 3-3 but, given the way they had struggled to finish opportunities of late, getting the fourth goal looked like it would be difficult. Though they rebounded and tied the game late, Eakin's goal gave Dallas a big lift when the legs looked to be getting heavy.
- Mark Letestu played a solid game, starting between Prospal and Dorsett then rotating up and down after the Brassard injury. He picked up two assists and was +2 on the night, setting up the Nikitin goal and Dorsett's goal in the second period.
- Nikitin has struggled a bit over the past few games, but he was steady tonight. He played 24:53 - second only to Alex Goligoski in the game - and scored his second goal of the year on a rocket one-timer in the second period.
- Tim Erixon, who has looked more and more comfortable with each passing game in the NHL, played a career-high 21:17 tonight against the Stars, most it paired with Aucoin.
- Derek Roy led all players with six shots on goal.
at Chicago Blackhawks
Friday, 8:30 p.m.