Blame the slow start on the holiday break, back-to-back games or the start of a road trip for the visiting team. But once tonight’s game eventually got going, it was fun to watch.
The third period and overtime were spirited in a game between two conference foes, but the Calgary Flames got the difference-maker in the shootout from Jarome Iginla and beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 at Nationwide Arena. A boisterous crowd of 16,985 was involved in the third period as the two teams traded odd-man chances and power play opportunities, including a handful of near-misses by Columbus.
Iginla’s backhand-to-forehand deke fooled Steve Mason on Calgary’s first shootout attempt, and it was the only marker in the skills contest. Mark Letestu (pad save), Rick Nash (missed net) and James Wisniewski (crossbar) couldn’t beat Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 27 saves and was named the game’s No. 1 star.
Columbus opened the scoring at 12:02 of the second period after its first and second power-play units just missed cashing in. It was a scattered group on the ice, but Letestu was able to dig a loose puck out of the slot and find Derick Brassard in the right circle. His wrist shot beat Kiprusoff short-side through a screen set by R.J. Umberger and put a jolt through the building.
The Blue Jackets carried that lead into the second intermission, but the Flames’ fresh legs came to life early in the third. Calgary’s red-hot top line converted on the power play at 3:06 on a backhander from Iginla that somehow slid under Mason’s body and in. Columbus had its chances as time wound down, but the Flames put the pressure on in overtime.
Mason made spectacular saves on Blake Comeau and Chris Butler alone in the slot to prevent the game-winning tally and force the game to the shootout. He made 25 saves and earned third-star honors.
We may never know what Flames coach Brent Sutter said to his troops in the locker room after the second period, but his rested club came out aggressive on the forecheck in the third period. Derek MacKenzie tripped up Curtis Glencross and put the Flames on the power play, a sequence they would use to get back in the game.
Iginla’s goal energized the Flames bench and made for an entertaining, seesaw third period and overtime.
Columbus scored the game’s first goal for the 18th time this season. The Blue Jackets are now 8-7-3 in those games, while going 3-10-3 when tied after the first period and 7-5-3 when leading after two periods.
The Blue Jackets' record against Calgary is pretty impressive, but the shootout loss drops the overall to 15-4-3 at Nationwide Arena. Columbus leads the all-time series 22-16-5.
Brassard has goals in two of the last four games with his fourth of the year tonight, snapping a 17-game goalless skid. He has 2-4-6 the last eight games after being held to 2-2-4 the first 20 games of the season.
Letestu has assists in back-to-back games after recording an assist on Brassard’s goal. He has helpers in three of the past four games after going without an assist in the previous 24 games. Letestu has 1-3-4 the last seven games.
Ryan Johansen has points in two of the last three games after picking up the secondary assist on the Brassard goal. He has 2-1-3 the last three games after going pointless the 10 games prior.
Mason is 2-2-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in his last five home starts, after going 2-5-1 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .887 save percentage his first eight starts at Nationwide Arena.
vs. Dallas Stars
American Airlines Center | Dallas, Texas
Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com