Frustrated Red Wings let game slip away in third period against Blue Jackets
Columbus, Ohio — This was another of those occasions when the Red Wings let a touch of adversity balloon into a bigger piece of trouble and suddenly lost a game because of it.
Columbus erased a third-period deficit with three successive goals Thursday, leading the Blue Jackets to a 5-4 victory over the Red Wings.
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a power-play goal at 7 minutes, 40 seconds — converting a long rebound off former Red Wing Gustav Nyquist's shot — tying the score, and Boone Jenner beat goaltender Jimmy Howard from a bad angle 1:03 later, breaking the tie.
Eric Robinson made it 5-3, at 13:49 — three goals in 6:09 — going around defenseman Joe Hicketts, skating in alone on Howard, and slipping through his third goal.
Just like a that, a 3-2 lead entering the third period became a game of catching up and the Wings didn’t have the time to do it.
“Sometimes hockey can be a momentum game,” forward Luke Glendening said. “We have to find a way to change that, whether it’s a big shift, or just something to slow it down a little bit, we’ve been caught a few times when one goal turns into two and turns into three.
“We have to find an answer in this room.”
Tyler Bertuzzi's second goal of the night — the Wings pulled Howard for an extra attacker — cut the lead to 5-4 at 16:46, Bertuzzi tipping Dennis Cholowski's shot from the high slot.
The Wings kept Howard on the bench for much of the remaining three minutes for the extra skater but couldn't get the tying goal.
The Wings (7-14-3) lost their second consecutive game and are winless in four (0-2-2). Columbus (9-8-4) won its third in a row.
“Going into the third, we have the lead, you have to find a way to win those games in the NHL,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “We have to find a way to win it.”
Bertuzzi, Filip Hronek and Glendening (shorthanded) scored Wings goals, while Howard stopped 32 shots.
Howard largely pinned the loss on himself, as a personally disappointing season continued for the veteran goaltender.
“I have to step up and make some saves for the guys, it’s as simple as that,” Howard said. “It’s frustrating. When you score four goals we expect to win. You can’t give up five goals. I have to find a way to make more saves for the guys.”
Alex Texier and Cam Atkinson (power play) added Jackets goals, as goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 24 saves.
The Wings looked sunk midway in the second period after wasting a 1 minute, 11 second two-man advantage while trailing 2-1.
With a chance to get back into the game, the Wings failed to get a shot on net during the two-man advantage, then didn’t get a puck on net for the remaining 49 seconds on the 5-on-4.
“I know it’s early in the game but it’s a crucial moment,” Blashill said of the Wings’ two-man advantage. “I didn’t like the 5-on-3 at all. It didn’t look dangerous and we have to be way better than that.”
The Blue Jackets appeared to have momentum but it was quickly squashed on a quirky Hronek goal.
Hronek wheeled near the dot and appeared to want to pass to Robby Fabbri near the opposite circle, but the puck bounced off Jackets defenseman Seth Jones and directly into the net, Hronek’s fifth goal, tying the score at 2-2 at 16:03.
After Dylan McIlrath was called for his third penalty of the evening, this one interference, the Wings actually used it to take the lead.
Bjorkstrand fumbled the puck at the blue line, allowing Glendening to race in on a breakaway and score, giving the Wings a 3-2 lead.
Frans Nielsen drew the only assist on the Glendening goal, Nielsen’s first point of the 2019-20 season, in his 20th game.
But, ultimately, it was a game the Wings fumbled away, allowing one goal to snowball into three for another frustrating loss.
“Frustration is something we talk about a lot in here as a wasted energy,” Glendening said. “At the same time, nobody likes to lose and we don’t play to lose.
“We have to continue pushing.”