Aftermath No. 20: Dallas
Haven't seen a game quite like that this year, have we?
The Dallas Stars have a way with wacky, unpredictable games and they were involved in a similar one just 24 hours ago in Nashville. The Stars and Predators traded multiple goals in the second period, were tied up late and went to overtime...where the visiting team took advantage of a mistake and wound up winning in overtime.
Ironically enough, that's pretty much exactly what happened tonight at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus never led in this game, but managed to battle back from four one-goal deficits throughout the contest and scratch out a point. Todd Richards and his players talked about it after the game: mental mistakes and breakdowns came back to bite them in this game, and they let a resilient Stars club hang around.
The Blue Jackets also got more bad news on the injury front: Derick Brassard left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period and didn't return. Taking the lay of the land: Columbus is now missing its top three centers (Dubinsky, Anisimov, Brassard) and two top-four defensemen (Wisniewski, Johnson) to injuries.
For any team - let alone one that has had trouble scoring - that's a brutal situation to endure.
Let's break down tonight's game before moving on:
1. HEAVY LEGS: Richards said post-game that the Blue Jackets looked like a team mentally fatigued, and it showed in their mistakes, as well. They were not very sharp in the first two periods but were very engaged in the third period and clawed their way back in it to force overtime. The old cliche "the first game back after a long trip is the hardest" reared its head tonight, and though we don't like cliches all that much, it appeared to be the case tonight.
2. MORE SHOTS: Facing a goaltender that hadn't played much this season in Richard Bachman, the Blue Jackets knew they had to make him work and keep funneling pucks on the net. They only had six in the first period, eight in the second and six more in the third period...not nearly enough to put consistent pressure on the Dallas defense. Though they managed to score four goals, they may have been able to put the game out of reach because Bachman did not look sharp at all.
3. FOLIGNO! Coming into tonight's game, Nick Foligno had two goals and four assists in the first 19 games of the season. Not bad, but certainly he would say he's had opportunities to score more. He was everywhere tonight; forechecking, backchecking, doing whatever was required to get the puck back. He assisted on both of the Blue Jackets' goals in the third period, including a sweet slingshot pass to Umberger in the slot that helped tie things up at 4-4.