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.
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:
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:
Chaos near the cage:
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:
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.