The Blue Jackets were in control for 58 minutes of last night’s game against the Nashville Predators. They had four lines rolling, did not take a minor penalty and goaltender Curtis Sanford made the saves his team needed him to make.
But it quickly came unraveled.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz called his timeout with 1:43 remaining in regulation and promptly pulled goalie Pekka Rinne for an extra attacker. Losers of two straight and seven of nine, the Predators had not gotten anything going against the Blue Jackets and faced a steep slope to get back in the game. Off the ensuing faceoff, Patric Hornqvist found himself alone at the side of the net and banked the puck in off Sanford’s back to make it a 3-2 game. Less than a minute later, Sammy Pahlsson was sent to the box for cross-checking Predators defenseman Shea Weber, and Nashville had a 6-on-4 power play in the final minute.
Sergei Kostitsyn redirected a centering pass from Martin Erat with 12.1 seconds to go, sending the game to overtime. Erat set up Colin Wilson for the game-winner at 1:45 of the extra session, taking advantage of a 2-on-1 break after the Blue Jackets miscued in the offensive end.
A heartbreaking finish overshadowed one of Columbus’ strongest even-strength efforts of the season. The Blue Jackets dominated at 5-on-5 and gave up a handful of quality chances in the third period, and looked to be in the driver’s seat after Derek Dorsett was shot out of a cannon early in the third period. With the Blue Jackets leading 2-1, Marc Methot hit Dorsett with a lead pass that sprang him through all three zones, and it culminated in a top-shelf finish and a two-goal lead.
Columbus has earned at least a point in nine of its last 13 games, but this one will sting. The Boston Bruins are the second of five-straight home dates when they come to town Saturday night.
The turning point in this game could very well be Trotz’s timeout. Although they had just over 100 seconds to work with, the two-goal deficit didn’t seem too insurmountable after the Hornqvist goal. Once the Predators pulled to 3-2, they put on their biggest press of the game and eventually got the tying goal from Kostitsyn late in the third.
- The Blue Jackets are 6-4-3 in their last 13 games, despite opening the season with a 2-12-1 record the first 15 games. Columbus is now 19-36-10 all-time against the Predators, and that includes a 14-14-4 mark at Nationwide Arena.
- Columbus opened the scoring for the 13th time this season tonight. The club is now 7-4-2 in those games, 4-1-1 when leading after the first period and 6-2-1 when leading after 40 minutes of play.
- Jeff Carter snapped a six-game goalless skid with his fourth of the season (and it came after a bizarre, back-in-time review). He has 4-2-6 the last nine games after being held pointless the previous six games. In seven career games against Nashville, Carter has 4-6-10.
- Vinny Prospal has points in three of the past four games with his helper on Carter’s goal. He has points in 17 of 28 games this season and leads the Blue Jackets in assists (15) and points (22). Prospal has 7-8-15 in 16 career games against Nashville.
- Antoine Vermette has goals in four of the last 12 games after scoring his fourth of the season tonight. He had gone the previous 21 games without a goal. He has tallied 4-8-12 the last 21 games after opening the season pointless the first six games.
- Nikita Nikitin has assists in back-to-back games after picking up an assist on Vermette’s goal. He has set a career high in assists and points with 1-9-10 in 20 games this season. It breaks his previous bests of eight assists and nine points set in 41 games with St. Louis last season.
- Dorsett improved on his already single season career high in goals with his sixth of the season tonight. He has four goals the last six games and has collected 5-2-7 the last 15 games after being held to 1-0-1 the first 13 games of the season. He ranks third on the club in goals.
vs. Boston Bruins
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com