The Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks met in Columbus on Saturday night in their second and final matchup of the season. After losing in overtime to the Ducks in Anaheim in early November, the Jackets had high hopes heading into this contest after putting forth a couple solid efforts leading up to this contest.
After an up and down start to the season, the Blue Jackets began to right the ship coincidentally after losing in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks about six weeks ago. That game was the first of seven straight in which the CBJ collected a point or better, going 5-0-2 during that stretch.
Ever since the calendar turned to December, however, the Jackets have been struggling to find that level of consistent success. On Tuesday, the CBJ played a solid game but allowed a late goal to the Vancouver Canucks, ultimately losing by a score of 3-2. They followed that up on Thursday with an impressive 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
Things were starting to get back heading the right direction ahead of this game against Anaheim. Following the game, in what was an evenly played matchup, that notion remained unchanged.
Saturday’s contest featured one goal apiece for both sides in the first period, followed by scoreless second and third periods. Markus Nutivaara put the CBJ on the board just prior to the eight minute mark of the game, then Daniel Sprong scored with 4:04 left to tie the game up for the Ducks
With the game still knotted up at 1-1 at the end of regulation, the Jackets and Ducks went to 3-on-3 overtime, just like their meeting back in November.
Shortly after the ensuing faceoff following a CBJ icing call, Daniel Sprong scored his second goal of the evening, securing a 2-1 victory for the visiting Ducks.
While Sergei Bobrovsky played well, stopping 20 of 22 shots faced and making some key stops at key times, he was outclassed by opposing goalie John Gibson, who allowed just one goal on 37 shots. Gibson’s now won seven of his last eight starts and has been a big part of his team’s recent run in which they’ve gathered 20 of their last 24 points up for grabs.
When asked about his team’s performance on Saturday night, CBJ head coach John Tortorella responded:
I thought we played a good game.
He later elaborated on the way the Jackets have been playing the last few games, saying:
We haven’t gotten rewarded, but we’ve played three good hockey games here. We just gotta keep our wits about ourselves here and keep on playing.
After picking up a point for their efforts, the Jackets will get another chance to keep things rolling on Monday night as they take on the Vegas Golden Knights at Nationwide Arena.