Eastern Conference Overtime
The Columbus Blue Jackets faced their first Eastern Conference foes of the season, and went to overtime in both games, including a shootout loss to Pittsburgh. This is the Midweek Report.
After a five-game western road-trip, the Jackets returned home to face Shane Doan and the Phoenix Coyotes.
Columbus struck first, on a power play goal from Derick Brassard, but then allowed four consecutive goals to give Phoenix the 4-1 victory.
The Jackets penalty kill continued to struggle as three of the four Coyote goals were on the power play.
Columbus outshot Phoenix 32 to 23, but the Coyotes were able to capitalize on opportunities.
Steve Mason made 19 of 23 saves in the loss.
The game marked the return of former Columbus head coach Dave King, who is now an assistant with Phoenix.
The Jackets continued the home stand with a tilt against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Behind the strength of two Rick Nash goals, Columbus took a 2-0 second period lead.
Pittsburgh cut the deficit to 2-1 with a shorthanded goal courtesy of Chris Kunitz, but the Blue Jackets quickly answered when Derek Dorsett added his first goal of the campaign.
Columbus held on to the two-goal advantage until the final three minutes of play, when they allowed two goals within 39 seconds to tie the score at 3 and force overtime.
It was the third game out of the last five that Columbus lost a two or more goal lead during or after the second period.
After a scoreless overtime period, Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Penguins the 4-3 win.
Each goalie saved 29 of 32 shots on net.
The Jackets headed to the nation’s capital to face Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Washington was the first on the board, with an opening period goal from Nicklas Backstrom that would stand as the only goal through first period.
The second period however, was all Columbus. Blue Jackets’ captain Rick Nash continued to impress with his ninth goal off the season, which tied the score at one.
R.J. Umberger then got on the board with a power play goal with less than one minute remaining in the period to give Columbus the 2-1 second intermission advantage.
Columbus would once again relinquish its lead however, allowing two consecutive Washington goals, giving the Capitals the 3-2 lead.
Down by a goal at 4-3 with 23 seconds remaining and an empty net, Raffi Torres scored his second goal of the game, and sixth of the year to knot the score at four, and once again, force overtime.
1:33 into the overtime period, Washington’s Brian Pothier took an interference penalty, which would set up R.J. Umberger’s game winner.
Just 12 second later, Umberger positioned himself in front of the net, took a feed from Nash, and slapped it home to give Columbus the 5-4 OT victory.
Steve Mason made 32 of 36 saves. Washington outshot Columbus 36 to 32.
Former Ohio State player Dave Steckel tallied an assist in the loss for Washington.
Derick Brassard recorded a goal and two assists over the course of the three games.
Derek Dorsett added his first goal of the season against Pittsburgh.
Nikita Filatov did not skate against Pittsburgh or Washington, but did total 8:23 against Phoenix.
Power Play Watch:
The Jackets went 1-5 against Phoenix, 1-7 against Pittsburgh, and 2-6 at Washington. This brings the season total to 13-56, or 23 percent.
This is down one percent from where it was last week.
Against Phoenix, the Jackets killed off only three of six Coyote penalties. Columbus improved against Pittsburgh, denying the Penguins on all five power plays, and killed four of five at Washington.
This brings the season total to 46-58, or 79 percent, a two percent drop off from a week ago.
The loss of Jan Hejda seems to have really hurt the Columbus penalty kill.
In the five games with Hejda in the lineup, the Jackets killed 94 percent of penalties.
However, in the eight games without Hejda, Columbus killed penalties at a much lower rate: a mere 70 percent.
Chicago continues to lead the division with 17 points. Columbus and Detroit are tied for second with 15 points apiece.
Nashville and St. Louis bring up the rear with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Columbus leads in goals per game average with 3.23 but has the highest goals-against average in the division at 3.5.
Fredrik Modin and Jan Hejda both remain on the injured reserved with knee problems, but are expected back soon.
Andrew Murray also remains out, and is expected to be so until mid-November.
Columbus gets another shot at the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night after falling 6-3 in the teams’ previous contest.
The Jackets then travel to Atlanta to face the Thrashers before beginning a four game home stand in which they will face Carolina, Detroit, Anaheim, and Edmonton.