Sometimes one play play can change the entire complexion of a game. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday night when the puck went off Anders Lee and into the back of the net to spark a comeback and eventual victory for the New York Islanders.
The Columbus Blue Jackets were well aware that Saturday’s matchup with the Islanders wouldn’t be a usual regular-season affair, with the club returning to the Nassau Coliseum (their former home rink) for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Columbus got off to a hot start, with Markus Hannikainen and Pierre-Luc Dubois each scoring a goal in the second period to put the road team up 2-0.
The two-goal cushion at the halfway mark of the game didn’t hold up for long, as the puck went off the body of Anders Lee and found itself past Sergei Bobrovsky to get the home crowd buzzing and make it a 2-1 hockey game with 8:01 left in the 2nd period.
Even while watching on television, it was apparent the support from the crowd was quite vocal and anything but the norm for a hockey game played in December. When the deficit was cut to one goal, it was a critical point in the game for the Jackets to regain some momentum and not let the damage get any worse.
Less than four minutes after the Lee goal, the Islanders had a two-on-one opportunity. Anthony Beauvillier opted not to pass, rebounding his own shot and easily getting it past Bob to tie the score 2-2 .
The third period started with the game tied up, and at the 6:23 mark it looked like Columbus had a golden opportunity to take advantage when Thomas Hickey was penalized for boarding.
Only four seconds later, the Jackets shot themselves in the foot, as Nick Foligno got an interference penalty. In 42 seconds Columbus went from being on the man advantage to giving up a 4-0n-4 goal to Casey Cizikas–putting New York up 3-2 in what would be the final score of the game.
The odd-man rush leading to the game-tying goal and the Foligno penalty leading up to the game-winning goal were costly mistakes that kept the Jackets pointless in a game full of some solid minutes. Bobrovsky had several outstanding saves, but in in the end it was a wasted performance in terms of points in the standings.
The CBJ will look to rebound from the loss on Saturday, returning to Nationwide Arena to host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Columbus is 4-0-1 in their last five home games and hasn’t lost a game on home ice in regulation since the month of October.