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NHL Corner: Blue Jackets survive late pressure from Blues
The Blue Jackets upstaged the romance surrounding Valentine’s Day by claiming a 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues — with some last-second drama providing a fitting end to the game.
The game started slowly, but a fight and a power-play opportunity late in the first period broke the monotony.
At 15:09 of the opening frame, Derek Dorsett and B.J. Crombeen, who have exchanged unkind words in the past, dropped the gloves. Two minutes later, a St. Louis penalty sparked a pair of goals.
Columbus, which has the league’s worst penalty kill, allowed the game’s first goal when David Backes capitalized on a shorthanded breakaway at 18:51 of the period.
Shortly after the Blues’ tally, the Blue Jackets tied it up at 1-1. With two seconds left in the frame, Jeff Carter won a key offensive zone faceoff that enabled James Wisniewski to power a last second shot through the wickets of Jaroslav Halak. It was a fitting goal for a team robbed by the game clock two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
In the second period, Columbus stormed back in the shot column, but neither team could break the tie. By the end of 40 minutes, both teams had 17 shots.
When the Blue Jackets skated out after the second intermission, the real fun began. Columbus’ intensity increased, and as a result the home team broke through early.
Nearly five minutes into the third period, Dorsett, sent cheers through the stands as his 10th goal of the season made it 2-1.
The Blue Jackets’ 2-1 lead did not go untested however, as Steve Mason played in a heavily populated goal crease for the remainder of the game. St. Louis swarmed at every opportunity, trying for more of a “hard-working” tally than a finesse play.
With 1.8 seconds left in regulation, a pileup in front of Columbus’ net embodied the Blues’ efforts to that point. Mason was not able to save St. Louis last shot, but video replay deemed the puck had been illegally shoved into the back of the net.
As the referee announced the call to Nationwide Arena, fans rejoiced as the decision meant the Blue Jackets grabbed two points against their rival. And on a night where delicious treats were hurled down to ice level, Columbus walked away with the simple taste of relief.