NHL | Blackhawks 3, Blue Jackets 2: An empty feeling
Blue Jackets lead early and show polish and energy, but an apparent 2nd-period goal is disallowed and a late two-man advantage is stifled
Blue Jackets left winger Nick Foligno, center, and goalie Steve Mason show their frustration after the Blackhawks’ goal in the second period.
Given the way the Blue Jackets are struggling to score goals, the last thing they need is NHL officials intervening to keep them off the scoreboard.
The Blue Jackets returned from a disheartening trip to play the crisp, checking style they had promised. But all it led to last night was a fourth straight loss, 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks before a capacity crowd of 18,381 in Nationwide Arena.
“We ran out of time,” winger Nick Foligno said. “Maybe we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.”
Mark Letestu and Artem Anisimov scored for the Blue Jackets, and goaltender Steve Mason had 21 saves.
“I liked the way we executed and just the effort and desperation that we showed,” coach Todd Richards said. “(The Blackhawks) are a fast, skilled team. You have to be prepared to play a fast game. I thought we skated with them.”
With Mason pulled for an extra skater, Anisimov scored to make it 3-2 with 2:19 remaining. Mason skated off again with 1:10 remaining, but the Blue Jackets couldn’t get the tying goal.
Actually, the Blue Jackets felt like a game-changing goal was taken off the board at 12:35 of the second period. With the Blackhawks leading 2-1, Blue Jackets center Derick Brassard took a slap shot from the point that grazed off Foligno’s stick before beating Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.
As the Jackets celebrated, NHL referee Dan O’Rourke signaled “no goal.” O’Rourke ruled that Foligno had interfered with Crawford’s ability to play his position. Foligno, who developed a reputation as a goalie-leaner while playing for Ottawa, might have been convicted for past crimes. He insisted he did not impede Crawford.
“Not at all,” he said. “You all saw the replay. If anything, he comes out to kind of push me. I saw him push (Blue Jackets winger R.J. Umberger) and then me after. I just tipped the puck in and didn’t even feel him.
“I was really disappointed in that. But that’s the breaks of the game. It’s just unfortunate it was at such a crucial point in the game. It would have been a 2-2 game and maybe a whole different outcome.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had an entirely different response.
“The right call was made,” Quenneville said. “(Foligno’s) skate picked him from coming across the crease. He couldn’t get over.”
The Blackhawks pushed the lead to 3-1 at 6:35 of the third when the Blue Jackets vacated their zone without the puck. A turnover just inside the blue line allowed Patrick Kane to feed Jonathan Toews, who was alone in front of Mason.
The Blue Jackets kept pressing, though they wasted a golden chance in the third period. Chicago’s Dave Bolland went off for a double-minor (holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct) with 9:08 remaining. But rather than enjoying a four-minute power play, the Jackets took two penalties of their own — Brassard for hooking with 8:24 remaining and Dorsett for high-sticking 28 seconds later — to end up killing a 4-on-3 penalty for 92 seconds.
Thus, the final buzzer had the sound of regret.
The Blackhawks, who are 5-0 for the first time since the 1971-72 season, were angry they played so poorly. The Blue Jackets were delighted to have played so well and kept it close.
“The (players) set a standard, and this is what we have to expect from ourselves every night now,” Richards said. “You have to match that desperation, that urgency we had.”