The Blue Jackets’ awakened offense clashed with the NHL’s hottest goaltender, and the latter did his part to extinguish the flame tonight.
St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott improved to 10-1-0 on the season, making 23 saves in backstopping the Blues to a 2-1 victory at Nationwide Arena. The game was not short on storylines, with former Blue Jacket defenseman Kris Russell making his return to Columbus following a Nov. 11 trade and the red-hot Blues trying to extend their run of stellar play since a coaching change.
And it was every bit the divisional donnybrook fans have come to expect from these two.
Derek Dorsett opened the scoring in the second period thanks to a spectacular all-around play from Sammy Pahlsson. The Blues’ top line turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Pahlsson quickly spun and hit Dorsett with a lead pass at the offensive blue line. It was Dorsett vs. Elliott, and the Jackets winger beat him low-glove for a 1-0 lead.
That familiar face scored the biggest goal of the game late in the middle period, as the Blue Jackets gave up an odd-man rush with the teams skating 4-on-4. Russell followed a shot from Alex Steen and cashed the rebound to tie the game with 7.1 seconds left in the period, bringing the Blues right back in the game.
With Fedor Tyutin in the box for hooking, the Blues cashed in with a power-play goal that turned out to be the game-winner. Jason Arnott found T.J. Oshie at the goal line, and Oshie spun a tape-to-tape pass to David Backes who blazed across the slot to bury it. The Blue Jackets got a power-play chance of their own late in the third period, but it was negated by a minor penalty a minute later.
Tonight’s loss ended the Blue Jackets’ point streak at five games.
If the Blue Jackets had escaped the second period and held on to their 1-0 lead, this game may have a different outcome. Russell’s goal came at the perfect time for the Blues, who desperately sought reward for a better second period.
Coaches always say yielding goals in the final minute of periods is a worst-case scenario, and the Blues fed off the game-tying tally.
- The Blue Jackets are getting off to better starts, and that’s a good sign for a team trying to get back in the race. Columbus scored the first goal of the game for the 10th time this season with Dorsett’s goal. The club is now 5-4-1 in those games, while going 1-6-2 when tied after the first period and 1-5-2 when tied after two periods.
- Columbus is now 23-28-13 all-time against St. Louis, including a 15-11-6 mark at Nationwide Arena.
- Dorsett snapped an eight game goalless skid with his third of the season tonight. He had last scored Nov. 5 at Philadelphia. He has points in back-to-back games, as well as 2-2-4 the last 10 games after being held to 1-0-1 the first 13 games.
- Pahlsson picked up his first assist in 10 games with a helper on Dorsett’s goal. He last had an assist Oct. 30 vs. Anaheim. He quietly had one of his strongest games of the season tonight, and his line was dominant at even strength.
- Congratulations to Blue Jackets winger Jared Boll, who played the 300th game of his NHL career tonight.
- Sanford suffered his first regulation loss with the Blue Jackets, despite stopping 25-of-27 shots tonight. He is now 3-1-2 with a 1.38 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in seven games.
- Tyutin picked up an assist on Dorsett’s goal to give him assists in four of the past five games. He has picked up 2-8-10 the last 16 games after being held to 0-1-1 the first eight games of the season. He has played in 21-or-more minutes in every game this season, including 23:18 tonight.
vs. Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena| Vancouver, B.C.
Tuesday, 10 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: CD102.5 FM & BlueJackets.com