Who most needed a win in Nationwide Arena today: the Dallas Stars, or the Columbus Blue Jackets? The Stars picked up a point, but they need many, many more. And losing 4-3 in overtime – in the last five seconds, no less – feels like an especially rough way to drop another game.
It would be nice if the Stars could actually win by one as easily as they lose by one, but it was not to be. Let’s get started.
The frame opened with both teams playing conservatively and ended with no penalties on either side. If you were to guess that both Dallas and Columbus are looking for points and were feeling out the perceived weaknesses of a soft opponent, you’d probably be right.
Max Domi drew first blood for the Blue Jackets halfway through the frame after Andrej Sekera went for the block and fumbled a rebound in front of Jake Oettinger’s net.
Max is catching fire pic.twitter.com/ufd9KsYBMo— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 13, 2021
But the Stars tilted the ice their way and tied it up at about 17 minutes in with a nice tally from the FCC Line. Andrew Cogliano scored on assists from Radek Faksa and Jamie Oleksiak.
Rhett Gardner nearly sent the Stars to the dressing room with a lead. Less than a minute after Cogliano’s goal, he collected a tidy rebound and beat Elvis Merzlikins on his glove side, only to have it ring off the post. Gardner will have to wait for his first NHL goal, but it’s coming....
The Stars ended the period on the tie, so whatever you were thinking – you were wrong.
Shots on goal: Dallas 10, Columbus 7
The Stars were clearly feeling it as this period began. They managed to carry in their positive momentum from the last few minutes of the first, and they more than doubled up Columbus in shots on goal.
The FCC Line did it again, and Sekera made amends for his overcommitment in the first period by getting the go-ahead goal – and his first tally of the season – at 7:17. He also became the sixth Stars defenseman to score so far in 2021. The Stars need all the scoring they can get, so it’s a good thing.
Naturally, Andrew Cogliano and now Andrej Sekera carrying the Stars offense. Like we all said would happen tonight!— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) March 13, 2021
But what goes around comes around. Cam Atkinson beat Oettinger’s glove on an assist from Max Domi with just over three minutes left.
And less than a minute later, Nick Foligno would score his fifth goal of the year to take back the lead for the Blue Jackets, ripping a shot from the top of the circle.
And despite outplaying the Jackets in the second period, the Stars ended the period one down. So whatever you were thinking – you were wrong.
Shots on goal: Dallas 11, Columbus 5
At 5:08, Denis Gurianov picked the perfect moment to shake off his scoring slump, and it’s somehow fitting that he ripped off an apple in the same arena where he scored his last goal. Jason Dickinson and Jamie Benn picked up the helpers, and if you thought the return of Scorianov meant that happy days are here again, you...may have thought it just a little too early.
The first penalty of the entire game didn’t come until 9:02 in the third, but it was a doozy. Joel Hanley tripped Emil Bernstrom on a breakaway, and the ensuing penalty shot could have stopped the Stars cold if Oettinger hadn’t had another stop in mind.
Aside: You just know Jeff K loves breaking out this GIF.
Neither the Stars nor the Blue Jackets wanted this game to go to overtime, and they both looked a little frantic as they took turns trying to bring out a dagger. But regulation ended on the 3-3 tie, so whatever you were thinking...you were wrong.
Shots on goal: Dallas 8, Columbus 10
It would have been all too typical if Patrik Laine picked this period to get out of his own scoring slump. Zach Werenski did it for him with 4.5 seconds to go. It appears that every Dallas defender lost track of the puck at the same time.
Once again, the Stars dominated statistically. If only they could turn that into wins. If Gurianov’s mojo has returned, we might be able to look forward to Alexander Radulov’s return with genuine hope.
But will it be too late? We’ll find out.
Shots on goal: Dallas 1, Columbus 4