After one sloppy and one solid performance since coming back from their break, both resulting in one-goal losses, the Blue Jackets were back at it again on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena against the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues, who were playing the first contest following their own 10-day break, showed no rust whatsoever.
Ryan O’Reilly scored first at the 8:28 mark of the first period when he tipped in a puck that trickled behind CBJ netminder Joonas Korpisalo. Carl Gunnarson then scored a goal of his own with 45 seconds left in the period to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after one.
The Jackets were finally able to beat St. Louis goaltender Jordan Binnington 6:15 into the third period when Oliver Bjorkstrand took a feed from Artemi Panarin and buried it to cut the deficit to one.
The Blues responded quickly, as Vladimir Terasenko scored just 34 seconds later on another trickling puck behind Kirpisalo to regain a two goal lead.
After the game, Korpisalo discussed a couple of the goals he allowed that he felt he should have stopped, saying:
It just went through. I mean, somehow it just goes through. Kinda had it but it trickles through and they score. That sucks. Sucks a lot. Huge points here and cost us a game here today.
Head coach John Tortorella was quick to put blame on the entire team, not just his goaltender, commenting:
This goes through everybody as far as tonight’s effort. Let’s call a spade a spade. It was not good.
With under three minutes left in the game and the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored from the left faceoff circle to get back to within one goal.
St. Louis center Oskar Sundqvist then buried an empty netter with 30 seconds left to secure a 4-2 Blues victory.
After the game, Oliver Bjorkstrand discussed the team’s mindset after losing their fifth game in a row, saying:
Five is way too many. We’ve just got to be better. Next game is a must win. I mean tonight was a must win, but now next game is even more of a must win, so we’ve got to be ready.
Tortorella talked about the impact Thursday’s game in Winnipeg had on the team, saying
I think we regrouped and played a really hard game in Winnipeg. I do think that has something to do with it. We emptied the tank in Winnipeg. I think that may had a little bit of an influence on tonight’s game, but it can’t go like it did tonight.
CBJ fans have seen first hand that a west coast trip can bring the team together, and luckily that’s what’s up next for the club. They’ll head to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Tuesday, followed by games in Arizona and Vegas.