Focused On Goals: Columbus vs. Winnipeg

Ryan Johansen
(Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

The chances were there, but no dice:

Last night’s 4-2 loss to Winnipeg marked Columbus’ 12th regulation loss in its past 15 games. Shots were relatively even with Columbus finishing with a slight 34-32 edge, but the Jackets were able to capitalize on one of five power play opportunities.

With the exception of Evander Kane’s empty netter to close out the contest, we will break down each of the goals scored in Nationwide Arena last night.

Quick start:


Doug Smail, Bryan Trottier and Alexander Mogilny are the owners of the league’s fastest a goal to begin a game with their scores coming five seconds in. Bryan Little’s goal was only four seconds off of that record.

Just seconds after the playoffs, Little carried the puck into the zone and ran a quick give-and-go with winger Andrew Ladd. Since Jack Johnson had vacated the zone to interfere with the pass that had eventually ended up on Little’s stick, Ryan Johansen was forced to slide over to fill the role. Pair Johansen, a winger, with the team’s second-best goal scorer and you’ve got bad news.

While Prout pursued Ladd, Johansen got caught skating the wrong direction and by the time he corrected his path, Little had zoomed past for the stick-side, backhand finish to the top of the cage. Little picked a direction at the very last possible second, forcing a late reaction from Bobrovsky and leading to the score.

Welcome to Columbus, Jordan Leopold:


The 34-year old veteran has been a goal-minded defenseman in the past: Leopold scored 23 goals during his two year stint with Buffalo. However, he has scored only three goals in 73 games over the past four seasons. Nevertheless, his goal provided a quick response to a quick start.

All four Winnipeg defenders collapsed on Artem Anisimov when Leopold floated to the edge of the left circle, giving him additional time to line up his shot and fire. Ondrej Pavelec was screened by three bodies as the wrister flew past him, bounced off the iron and in. Leopold didn’t have a body within seven feet of him when he shot the puck. Even if Pavelec gets a piece of it, Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner were looking for the rebound.

Point blank score:


Though we were just praising Leopold, he jumped the gun on this block attempt. Evander Kane quietly found room in the slot between Leopold and David Savard. Dustin Byfuglien saw the opportunity and showed great patience with his centering pass as a sliding Leopold flew by. Byfuglien passed the puck behind Leopold and Kane buried the easy score.

Chaos near the cage:

The referee’s arm was up and Dalton Prout was set to head to the sin bin for either interference or cross-checking on Blake Wheeler, but the Jackets did not get the opportunity to touch up and halt play. After Wheeler and Prout crashed into Bobrovsky, Little and Adam Pardy both recognized that Columbus had yet to touch up, leading them to hustle to the corner to retrieve the puck.

Little got to it first and before Jenner could force him off the puck, Ladd slid over from the right side to the left circle to receive Little’s centering pass. He put a quick move on Matt Calvert and fired a shot at a screened Bobrovsky, who had remained out of position after Wheeler was pushed into him. Many in attendance felt that Wheeler deserved a goaltender interference penalty.

Johansen drags and scores:

This goal began with a heads up effort from Nick Foligno in the corner to stay on the puck and deliver a good pass to Johansen. When Johansen received the pass, Little was already one to two feet behind him and with Mark Stuart stuck in the corner and Jacob Trouba defending Scott Hartnell in the slot, nobody was home to defend Johansen on the stick side of the cage.

Johansen had plenty of room to drag the puck to the middle of the slot and by the time Winnipeg defenders reacted, Johansen lifted the backhand shot past Pavelec’s stick. Hartnell forced Trouba away from the cage which gave Johansen a target at which to shoot. Johansen also showed patience in releasing the shot at the correct moment.

The Blue Jackets return to action Friday against Vancouver.