The Columbus Blue Jackets grabbed a point last night (Thursday, Dec. 9), but couldn’t secure the second point, falling to the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout at Nationwide Arena. The Ducks improved to 15-8-5 on the season, while the Jackets dropped to 13-11-1.
Columbus opened the scoring eight minutes into the first period when Alexandre Texier buried a nice feed from Eric Robinson. But the Ducks answered two minutes later on a breakaway by Isac Lundestrom. The scoring ceased after that, and the game headed to a shootout.
After the first shots of the shootout for both teams were saved, Texier missed the net wide for Columbus and Trevor Zegras wristed one through the five-hole of Elvis Merzlikens. Jakub Voracek kept the Jackets’ hopes alive with a goal in the third round of the shootout, but Rickard Rakell waited Merzlikens out and won it for the Ducks.
Columbus put plenty of shots on net and played solid defense for much of the game, but in the end, just couldn’t one-up the Ducks on this particular night. Here are three takeaways from the Blue Jackets’ shootout loss.
The Brothers Robinson Meet
Regardless of the result, Thursday night was a special night for the Robinson family. It was the first time Eric and Buddy Robinson have skated against each other in the NHL. After playing collegiately at Princeton, Eric signed with Columbus near the end of the 2017-18 season. The 26-year-old winger has appeared in 24 of the Blue Jackets’ 25 games so far this season, registering three goals and seven assists. His play recently earned him a two-year extension with the team.
“First time for us in any league. The timing couldn’t be better. I got the callup and you try not to look too far ahead because you’re never sure how long it’s going to be. I took a peak at the schedule and saw this one on the road trip and said, ‘I better make sure I play well and make it on the trip and get in (the lineup) for this one.”– Buddy Robinson, on playing against his brother Eric for the first time (from ‘Ducks’ Buddy, Blue Jackets’ Eric make it special night for Robinson family’ – Elliott Teaford, The Orange County Register – 12/9/21)
Buddy, Eric’s older brother, signed with the Ottawa Senators in 2013, but mostly played at the AHL level. He signed with the Winnipeg Jets in 2017, playing exclusively with their AHL team during his one-year contract. He joined the Calgary Flames on a two-year deal in 2018, again playing mostly in the AHL. The 30-year-old winger signed with the Ducks in July and was called up last Wednesday (Dec. 1). Buddy has played in three of Anaheim’s four games since he was called up, logging two shots.
When Buddy was called up, Bud and Maureen Robinson looked at the schedule and realized that there was a real possibility their sons could be on the ice together at Nationwide Arena last night. That possibility became a reality, as Eric notched an assist in 13:35 of ice time and Buddy saw 9:57 of ice time.
“It’s a pretty special night for the boys. They’ve been in the game a long time and they have done well for themselves. It’s surprising it’s the first time they’ve ever been on the ice together at the same time. It’s pretty special for them. They’ve talked about it a little bit the last few days, and we are happy to be here to support them.”– Bud Robinson, on his sons skating against each other for the first time
John Gibson Stonewalls Jackets
Following Texier’s first-period goal, the Blue Jackets could not get anything past Anaheim goaltender John Gibson. They attacked him all night, registering 34 shots on goal, but he saved 33 of those shots. In the shootout, they got one of three attempts past him. After last night’s outstanding performance, Gibson now has a 2.60 goals-against average (GAA) and a .917 save percentage (SV%) through 21 starts this season.
Merzlikens was also strong, saving 25 of the Ducks’ 26 shot attempts (and one of their three shootout attempts). He now has a 2.80 GAA and a .917 SV% through 16 starts. Fellow netminder Joonas Korpisalo was activated off of Injured Reserve today (Friday, Dec. 10).
Columbus’ Extra Time Win Streak Ends
Coming into Thursday night’s contest, the Blue Jackets had yet to lose a game in overtime or a shootout this season. They were 4-0, with their most recent coming on Nov. 18 against the Arizona Coyotes, a 5-4 shootout victory. Their other three were on Oct. 16 against the Seattle Kraken (a 2-1 overtime win), Oct. 21 against the New York Islanders (a 3-2 overtime win), and Nov. 3 against the Colorado Avalanche (a 5-4 overtime win).
The Blue Jackets were 6-12 last season in games that went past regulation. With their win Thursday night, the Ducks are now 5-5 this season in games that go to overtime and/or a shootout.
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The Blue Jackets will try to get back in the win column on Saturday (Dec. 11) when they travel to Seattle to battle the Kraken. Puck drop is slated for 10:00 PM ET. The Ducks also play on Saturday on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 PM ET.
Grant is a freelance writer covering the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets for THW. He started his own sports blog (Head in the Game) in 2013 and worked in the sports information department while at Trine University, from where he graduated in 2019. You can follow Grant on Twitter @G_Tingley.