Through 20 minutes of tonight's game, the Blue Jackets had the St. Louis Blues all out of sorts.
Columbus was drawing penalty after penalty, taking the one of the NHL's top teams off its game and then, capitalizing on their mistakes. The Blue Jackets answered the Blues' opening goal with a three-spot in the first period on goals by Artem Anisimov, Fedor Tyutin and Ryan Johansen - bringing the Nationwide Arena crowd to a roar and tilting the ice in favor of the home team. It was a dramatic early twist in a game that ended up being full of them, and before all was said and done, this game resembled one of the Central Division tilts between Columbus and St. Louis from yesteryear.
The Blue Jackets held their 3-1 lead into the second period, but a Jack Johnson tripping penalty but the Blues on the power play at 8:19 of the middle frame. St. Louis needed only 14 seconds to convert, and it was Vladimir Tarasenko potting his second goal of the game, a tally that gave the Blues new life and from that point forward, the game didn't hold the same tenor it did in the first period.
And it wasn't like the Blue Jackets didn't have chances to put the game away in the third period, either; Brandon Dubinsky, Johansen, Boone Jenner and Mark Letestu had quality opportunities to stretch the lead to two goals, but after Letestu missed high on a breakaway with about six and a half minutes remaining, the Blues tied the game only seconds later.
Ian Cole put the puck toward the net - something the Blues did more and more as the game went on - and Chris Stewart was camped in front of Mike McKenna to slam it in and tie the game with 6:27 to go.
Overtime lasted all of 22 seconds and a misplay by the Jackets at their own blue line allowed David Backes to break in on McKenna. He made a great move to the net and roofed it under the crossbar, completing the Blues' comeback and earning the full two points for the visitors.
The Blue Jackets cashed in on their first 5-on-3 chance of the game, but their second opportunity (albeit 10 seconds) was a big turning point. With a 3-2 lead late in the second period and staring down another chance to expand their lead, the Blue Jackets couldn't get much going on the two-man advantage or the ensuing power play...and the game felt much different headed to the third period with Columbus leading 3-2. In a game of squandered opportunities, this one stood out as a difference-maker.
1. VLADIMIR TARASENKO (STL)
The young Russian scored a pair of goals in the game and his second was a vital one for the Blues, who were flat in the first period and started the second down 3-1.
2. DAVID BACKES (STL)
Backes' line, one of the best in the league heading into the game, was held in check until the third period and they played a big role in turning it around for St. Louis. His overtime goal salvaged what was a relatively forgettable night, as he won just seven of 19 draws and recorded only two shots on goal.
3. RYAN JOHANSEN (CBJ)
The Blue Jackets' leading scorer extended his points streak to eight games with his first-period goal (4-6-10 in that stretch), and overall, played another impactful game for Columbus. He was 14-of-22 (64 percent) in the face-off circle against a Blues team that's very good on the draw.
VS. WINNIPEG JETS
MONDAY, 7 P.M.