COLUMBUS, Ohio – The game ended 42 seconds into the overtime frame and left the Blue Jackets feeling as if they had left points on the table. Battling back from a 2-0 deficit, they took the lead on two separate occasions but were unable to close it out.
Fast starts on the road this season are a hallmark of the Washington Capitals. It took until the second period for Columbus to find their legs and start answering the physical play of their opponents. And answer the bell, the Blue Jacket did.
"The second was exactly the way we needed to play when we came out in the first," said Nick Foligno. "You see Prouter get into a fight and kind of change the momentum. You saw some scraps with Chappy getting in one and Boller doing what he does for us. It makes a difference."
In just a four-minute span of time in the second, three separate fights occurred. Dalton Prout got things started with a unanimous decision over Tom Wilson. Then, Jared Boll danced with Michael Latta resulting in a split decision followed by Michael Chaput, in his first NHL fight, dropping the gloves with Troy Brouwer. One can just imagine the chorus of "His name is Dalton!" washing over the Capitals bench.
But the line that really stood out and generated opportunities for the Blue Jackets was Jeremy Morin, Nick Foligno and Brian Gibbons. Of Columbus’ 26 shots on goal, these three players accounted for 11 of them and went 2-3-5 on the night. Topping it off, it was only the second game for Morin since being traded from Chicago on Sunday.
"I think every game and every shift we feel more comfortable with each other," Morin said. "I think we found some comfort out there tonight. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but there were some good things that we can take out of the game."
Yes, there were some positives to be taken away from this overtime loss. They earned a much-needed point and proved once again that they have the will to be resilient and battle back.
"I think we came out really flat in that first twenty," he said, "and went down 2-0. That’s unacceptable. But in the second, we wanted to come out and prove a point that we were coming to play and the game wasn’t over."
The star of that line was unequivocally Nick Foligno. He netted the 100th goal of his career in his 10th multi-point game of the season, going 2-1-3. Through 30 games, he’s 16-14-30 and leads the team in both goals and points.
For perspective, it took him 70 games last season to reach a career-high 18 goals. He’s just 17 points away from matching his career-high in total points (2011-12 with the Ottawa Senators).
It doesn’t seem to matter who Foligno plays with, you know what you’re going to get when he’s on the ice. With Morin and Gibbons on his wings, they have become a potent threat to create chances and put up points.
"We talked once Mo (Morin) got on our line and said this is what we need to do," Foligno said," try to keep it simple and play to our strengths. It’s working for us and we’re trying to create energy for our other lines. I’m sure as we learn each other a little more we’ll get better and better."
Foligno and Morin seemed to have ‘clicked’ from their very first shift together. With Gibbons on the other wing, this line brings speed and skill to the ice.
"I didn’t know much about him (Morin) when he got here, but he’s really skilled. I like that he hangs onto the puck and has his head up a lot. And, he skates really well and is not afraid to get into the dirty areas.
"I’ve really enjoyed playing with Gibby. He’s a guy that I love his energy and the way he plays the game. We’re clicking right now and having fun."
While this wasn’t the result that they wanted, they know what they did wrong and will take the steps to correct this going into Saturday night’s tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks. The winning streak was bound to end at some point. The fact that it ended with them getting a point is better than being beat in regulation.
It’s still an uphill battle for the Blue Jackets to work their way up the standings. But they can see the top of the hole that was dug earlier in the season. After 31 games, they are exactly where they were one year ago at 13-15-3 for 29 points. It’s all about perspective.