What a crazy ending to a game that started out slowly.
The Chicago Blackhawks scored twice in the third period to force overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then in a furious final minute of overtime, the Blackhawks were whistled for too many men.
While this was going on, some extra time ran off the clock. As it turns out, that extra time cost the Blue Jackets a win in overtime.
Zach Werenski put the puck in the net with 0.0 on the clock and the green light on. Officials reviewed the play and determined the puck crossed the line after the clock hit zero. As a result, the game went to a shootout.
Here’s where things went south in a hurry for the Blue Jackets.
After Pierre-Luc Dubois missed his shootout attempt, Jonathan Toews scored on Joonas Korpisalo. But after the goal was scored, Korpisalo was injured and needed help off the ice. It’s unclear what the exact injury is at this time, but it didn’t look good as he was coming off the ice.
In comes backup Elvis Merzlikins to finish the shootout after sitting cold for 2.5 hours. After Gus Nyquist scores to make it 1-1, Patrick Kane beats Merzlikins to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. Nathan Gerbe then hits the post to allow the Blackhawks to win the shootout and the game by a 3-2 score.
While this was a very crazy situation to say the least, the focus during postgame by John Tortorella was not the injury, but the way the review process or lack thereof was handled by the NHL.
When the Blackhawks were called for too many men, extra time went off the clock and was never put back on. There was no review. Had the extra time been put back, the Werenski shot would have counted and there would have been no shootout.
Tortorella didn’t take any questions and spent under a minute ripping the officials and the league for the way this was handled.
Now the Blue Jackets have lost their number one goaltender at the most inopportune time. The question on the minds of everyone is what happens next.
We don’t know the exact nature or severity of the injury to Korpisalo at this time. But if a recall is required, AHL Cleveland has two options available in Matiss Kivlenieks and Veini Vehvilainen. Here are their numbers with the Monsters.
- Kivlenieks: 7-6-2, 3.04 GAA and .894 save percentage.
- Vehvilainen: 6-7-1, 2.08 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Vehvilainen has been outstanding in his first season in North America. If the team goes by performance, Vehvilainen is the clear winner but it’s too early to say what happens for sure.
This is a developing story. As soon as anything comes from the team as to an update on Korpisalo, we will pass it along. For now, the Blue Jackets have to get ready for their next game Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. You’d expect Merzlikins would start that game if Korpisalo’s injury is too severe.
Korpisalo is the reason why the Blue Jackets are even sniffing the playoff bubble. This is a devastating blow in every sense given the injury and the events that led to it. The team is scheduled to practice Monday at 12 P.M. At that point, we should start to get a better idea of the situation at hand.