Down 2-0 in the first period and looking a step behind the Edmonton Oilers, Blue Jackets interim head coach Todd Richards called timeout but opted against a more “vocal” approach.
The message was simple, he said: the Blue Jackets could have been playing much better hockey than they did in the first eight-plus minutes, and he took the brief hiatus to remind his team that it had an extra gear. Ben Eager’s fifth goal of the year at 8:50 of the first period was the last source of offense for the Oilers tonight – the Blue Jackets scored four unanswered goals to claim a 4-2 win in front of 13,814 at Nationwide Arena.
It marked Columbus' second win this season when trailing by two goals (last was Dec. 1 at Calgary), but this game felt different and turned around in the second period. The Blue Jackets caught Edmonton in a messy line change early in the middle stanza, and Antoine Vermette ladled a lead pass to Ryan Johansen, who curled in the slot and snapped a wrister five-hole on Devan Dubnyk to make it a 2-1 game at 2:37.
In a second period that belonged to the Blue Jackets, they literally waited until the last second to capitalize on their strong play. As the clock wound down, Rick Nash fired a shot at Dubnyk that caromed off the goaltender’s right pad and on to the stick of Derick Brassard. His backhander ricocheted off defenseman Jeff Petry and behind Dubynk, tying the game 2-2 with 0.8 seconds remaining in the second period.
Columbus wasted little time transferring its momentum to the third period, as newcomer Colton Gillies flew down left wing and centered a pass to Derek MacKenzie, who slammed home his fifth goal of the year just 32 seconds in. Derek Dorsett’s eighth of the season came at the 19:38 mark, an empty-netter that put a bow on the Blue Jackets’ 4-2 victory.
The Blue Jackets scored a pair of important goals in the second period, but none was bigger than Brassard's buzzer-beating tally to tie it up. Despite leaning on the Oilers in the period and creating scoring chances, they were unable to convert and had finally got a power play of their own.
Nash's shot and the put-back by Brassard proved to a devastating combination for the Oilers, who then yielded the go-ahead goal as the third period got started.
Columbus went 2-for-2 on the power play tonight, the club's first power play goals since Jan. 8 at Anaheim. The team also had been 1-for-26 on the power play the previous 10 games. It marks the fourth time this season the club has scored two-or-more power play goals.
Johansen snapped a nine-game goalless skid with his eight of the season tonight. He had last scored Dec. 22 at Nashville. He has tallied 3-3-6 the last 11 games after being held pointless the previous 10 games.
Vermette has points in four-straight games after recording an assist on Johansen’s goal. He has 1-3-4 during the streak, while registering 2-4-6 the last nine games after being held to 1-0-1 the previous 11 games. He won 10-of-16 face-offs (62.5 percent) and entered the night ranked ninth in the NHL in that category.
Brassard has goals in three of the last five after scoring his seventh of the season tonight. He has 3-2-5 the last six games and 5-6-11 the last 17 games after being held to 2-2-4 the previous 20 games. He has tallied 2-4-6 in 11 career games against the Oilers.
Dorsett snapped an 11-game goalless skid when he scored (empty net) his eighth of the season tonight. He has six goals the last 21 games after being held to two goals the first 22 games of the season. He also has 6-4-10 the last 24 games after being held to 2-0-2 the first 19 games of the season.
Nash has points in three-straight games after notching an assist on Brassard’s goal. The assist was his first since Dec. 31 vs. Washington, a span of six games. He has recorded 12-8-20 the last 27 games after being held to 1-3-4 the previous 10 games. In 32 career games against the Oilers, he has 11-12-23.
Dorsett has assists in two of the last three games. He had gone the previous 16 games without an assist. He has 6-4-10 the last 28 games after being held to 1-0-1 the first 13 games of the season.
vs. Nashville Predators
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com