Blues forward Brayden Schenn (10) and Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (8) both scored in a 3-2 overtime win for Columbus. (Photo courtesy: Jay LaPrete, AP Photo)
The St. Louis Blues (12-3-5) went to a league-record 10th overtime, but ultimately fell short, 3-2, to the Columbus Blue Jackets (7-8-4). After a costly Too Many Men penalty in overtime, Zach Werenski buried the game winner past Jake Allen. The Jackets got off to a hot start after the opening minutes, but Allen was locked in, ready to play and made some key saves early in the game. However, the Jackets would get on the board first after Vladislav Gavrikov would get his first goal of the year.
The Blue Jackets continued to try and swarm the Blues offensive end, but Jake Allen was even-keeled for the remainder of the period. That helped the Blues get their offense going, and Mackenzie MacEachern got a sneaky wraparound in the final minute of the first.
The Blues dominated in the second period as they commanded all three zones of the ice. Brayden Schenn scored his 5th powerplay goal of the year just seconds into the man advantage to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Jake Allen wasn’t challenged much in the second but still made some great stops throughout the remainder of the game.
The Blue Jackets laid siege to Allen, however, in the third period, and Pierre-Luc Dubois would grab another goal against the Blues to tie it. Costly defensive turnovers and icings nearly unraveled the Blues, but Allen put on a clinic to keep them alive. Once more, the Blues would head to overtime, where St. Louis would get a powerplay in OT. However, they nullified it with a Too Many Men minor and Werenski would punish them for it. Columbus handed the Blues their 5th loss in extra minutes, while the Blues salvaged an extra point.
The Blues are back in St. Louis tomorrow night to host the Anaheim Ducks, while the Blue Jackets continue their homestand against Montreal next Tuesday.
Both squads got off to a quick start in the early going of the game, with lots of chances and attempts going both ways. However, after killing off the Blues powerplay, Columbus got to work and forced the defense in tight. Jake Allen was rock solid to open the game, keeping his team out of trouble for the first half of the period.
He couldn’t stop them all, however: with the St. Louis skaters loaded down low to the left side, rookie Vladislav Gavrikov perfectly received the puck in a wide-open space and roofed a backhand shot into a yawning net.
Gavrikov’s first of his NHL career came midway through the period, unassisted off a lucky puck bounce, and the home squad lead 1-0. Columbus still put pressure on the Blues by forcing the defense down low. However, Allen fed off the confidence gained from his bounceback win over Edmonton and remained the best player on the St. Louis side of the ice. The Blues utilized that confidence to turn the offense around, and as the period game to its final seconds, the fourth line paid dividends yet again.
MacEachern’s second of the year was assisted by a great keep-in from Oskar Sundqvist, and the Blues tied the game. Sanford tried to bury another one just as quick, but the period would end after MacEachern’s equalizer. Columbus outshot the Blues 14-9 through the opening 20 minutes.
The Blues got off to a much better start in the middle frame, skating faster and hitting heavier to swarm the Jackets and hold them to the blue line. Their offensive possession and pressure in the first ten minutes was nothing short of dominant, and it eventually lead to Columbus taking another penalty. Jaden Schwartz fed Brayden Schenn just enough to put him all alone in front of Korpisalo off the initial faceoff, and Schenn did not miss.
Schenn’s 5th powerplay goal and 11th of the season gave the Blues a 2-1 lead midway through the game, just six seconds into their powerplay. The Blues continued to hound the puck in all three zones, even when they headed to the penalty kill later in the period.
The Blue Jackets registered one more great chance down in front, but Jake Allen remained sharp and kept everything out of the net for the entire frame. St. Louis skated off up by one after the second period, and controlled the tempo of the entire period despite being outshot 24-19.
The Blues started off the third with some great pressure and a few solid looks from the 2nd line, but the Blue Jackets quickly turned the pace around in their favor. After scoring in their previous meeting, Pierre-Luc Dubois and his line took advantage of the Blues’ miscommunication in their own zone and put the tying goal past Jake Allen.
Dubois’ 7th of the year tied up the game less than three minutes into the third period, and they took that momentum to St. Louis’ doorstep. The Blues began to crumble in the defensive zone, with six turnovers in their own end after just ten minutes. One man stood in the way of everything Columbus had – Jake Allen.
The Blues desperately needed a spark, and Allen found it for them. The top line responded with a solid shift with about eight minutes left in the third, and the game quickly opened up both ways. The Blues’ turnovers and icings still continued to burn them, but Allen stood on his head for the rest of the game. Columbus used the giveaways to lay siege to him as the period came to a close, but neither team could finish it off in regulation. The Blues headed to their league-leading 10th overtime tied 2-2, outshot 35-26.
The Blues drew a tripping minor to start off the overtime and got a few great chances, but the puck stayed out of Korpisalo’s cage. Almost serendipitously, the Blues were charged with a Too Many Men minor themselves, putting Columbus on the powerplay through the middle of overtime. After sustained O-zone pressure by the Jackets, superstar defenseman Zach Werenski blasted a one-timer from the point, and it beat Jake Allen perfectly.
With the costly bench minor sealing the deal, the Blues skated off with only one point, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Blue Jackets. Allen was terrific in net, making 36 saves in the front end of the back-to-back.
Jake Allen was glad they got the extra point, but knows the club needs to finish off teams in regulation. “We’ll take the points where we can get them… We started a little slow in the second, but the last 7, 10 minutes were great,” Allen told Darren Pang. “Our offensive zone play, the way that we held the puck, possessing poise and confidence down there was great. We’ve won a lot of games in overtime; unfortunately, the last couple haven’t gone our way, so we’ll try to get back to winning one in 60 tomorrow.”
The Blues are right back in action at home tomorrow against the Anaheim Ducks, and look to get that 60-minute win. To watch tomorrow’s game at 7pm CT, head to:
STL: FSMW, ESPN 101.1, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
ANA: FSW, AM 830, Fox Sports GO, NHL.com
For local Blues stories, recaps, insights and more, visit bluesrants.com!