Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets entered Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta with an opportunity to build off a character come from behind victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Looking for just their eighth victory of the season, the Blue Jackets found out prior to last night’s game that they would be without the services of center Jeff Carter, due to an unspecified lower body injury. Carter was replaced by forward Kristian Huselius, who was activated from injured reserve after missing the first 25 games of the 2011-12 season with a pectoral injury.
Edmonton struck early, as forward Jordan Eberle scored his 10th goal of the season just 21 seconds into the game. The Blue Jackets would eventually answer that late in the period when forward Mark Letestu cashed in on the power play with just over a minute to go in the period. Captain Rick Nash and defensemen James Wisniewski had the helpers on the play. Letestu, picking up his fourth goal of the season, has been one of few bright spots for the Blue Jackets since arriving in a trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins last month.
The 2nd period involved two minor penalties exchanged between the two clubs and a short handed goal by Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett to give Columbus a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd. Dorsett’s fourth goal of the season was unassisted at 10:16 of the 2nd.
After taking a commanding lead in shots (21-7) after the first period and a 2-1 lead in the game after the 2nd, Columbus was reminded quickly about the mandatory rule of playing 60 minute hockey games. Five goals were scored by the Edmonton Oilers hockey club. Edmonton forward Ryan Jones picked up the natural hat trick. Derek Dorsett added his 5th tally of the season and second goal of the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the third period meltdown as the Edmonton Oilers defeated a frustrated Blue Jackets hockey team 6-3.
“When you give up that many goals in the third period to lose it is definitely disappointing,” Dorsett said. “It’s really frustrating. We have been battling hard for two points and every point counts for us right now. We are a desperate team and it felt like tonight slipped away from us.”
A frustrated Rick Nash spoke with the media after the game, shedding light on the third period collapse.
“I think they came out a lot harder then we did and we gave them too many opportunities,” Nash said. “They got the chance to bare down and bury it. We stuck with it and didn’t give up. It was a matter of making mistakes defensively and sitting back a bit. They jumped on us in the third. ”
Indeed the Oilers did, but according to head coach Scott Arniel, the Blue Jackets looked like a team that played three games in four nights.
“We looked like a team that was playing three games in four nights,” Arniel said. You could tell the way our legs weren’t going early in the game, leading to mistakes after mistakes.”
At this point, it doesn’t matter how tired the Columbus Blue Jackets were at that final buzzer last night, if of course that stood to be the case. They had this game right where they needed it to be, in their favor heading into the final frame. They blew it, simply because they didn’t play a 60 minute hockey game. Again, a mandatory rule that the Blue Jackets decided to bypass.
Up next, the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday December 6th. It’s the final game of the Canadian road trip.
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