(Photo by: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets will not be making the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in their club’s history, despite defeating the Nashville Predators 3-1 in their season finale. With the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings winning, it left the Blue Jackets on the outside looking in.
Nationwide Arena was loud the entire night, especially in the third when the home town team came back to win. “We could see the energy in the building with the chance to make the playoffs,” said associate coach Peter Horachek. “They had to win tonight. We expected a lot from them in third.”
Kevin Klein said, “You could tell from warm ups they were going to be rowdy.”
Since Shea Weber scored the first goal of the game 8:29 in the second, the Blue Jackets went into the third down. Of course, they were going to come out guns firing. In the third period alone, Columbus totaled 25 shots.
Brandon Dubinsky scored the game tying goal on the power play by dragging the puck around Kevin Klein and slipping the puck through Mason’s five-hole. Here is the reaction from the fans.
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 28, 2013
Five minutes later, Jack Johnson scored the game winner by throwing the puck in front from behind the net and off Weber’s stick into the net. Johnson looked to the crowd and did the “get up” motion.
Cam Atkinson put the icing on the cake with thirty second remaining with an empty net goal, a day after re-signing with the club for the next two seasons.
Columbus wouldn’t have recorded the victory in their season finale without Sergei Bobrovsky, who played an unbelievable game. Bobrovsky stopped nineteen of twenty shots, including an incredible series of saves on Jon Blum at the top of the crease. According to the stats, Bobrovsky stopped three shots in a span of five seconds.
Nashville’s goaltender stopped 44 of 46 shots he faced Saturday night. No, it wasn’t Pekka Rinne between the pipes, but rather Chris Mason. Mason played his best game all year in the season finale, but was unable to find support to record a win. “He was unbelievable,” said Weber. “You have to give him a lot of credit.”
Another milestone was set Saturday night for a young Predator with Weber scoring the lone goal for his club. Joonas Rask recorded his first assist of his NHL career. How long that career goes is still to be determined as he has to develop much more before he is NHL ready.
In the first period, at first, it appeared Craig Smith scored the first goal of the game. However, on second look at the mega-tron, the referee waved it off immediately, even before putting the headset on.
Another injury occurred 8:38 in the third period, which is nothing new to Nashville. Sergei Kostitsyn returned to the bench favoring one leg, after being innocently hit by Adrian Aucoin in the Columbus zone. Kostitsyn did not return to finish the season finale.
Filip Forsberg was all over the ice for the Predators Saturday, but was unable to muster up a goal in the five games he played with his new team. The Swedish forward had four shots in 15:07 of ice time.
Goals and Assists
1-0 NSH: Shea Weber – Legwand and Rask at 8:29 in the 2nd
1-1 tie: PP Brandon Dubinsky – Gaborik and Prospal at 10:09 in the 3rd
1-2 CBJ: Jack Johnson – Atkinson and Prout at 15:12 in the 3rd
1-3 CBJ: EN Cam Atkinson – Comeau and Dubinsky at 19:30 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Jack Johnson: GWG
2. Chris Mason: 44 Saves on 46 Shots
3. Brandon Dubinsky: Goal and Assist
Predators scratches: #18 W Brandon Yip (lower body), #24 W Matt Halischuk (upper body), #27 W Patric Hornqvist (upper body), #28 C Paul Gaustad (shoulder), #56 W Taylor Beck (upper body) and #57 W Gabriel Bourque (knee)
Blue Jackets scratches: #6 D Nikita Nikitin, #9 W Colton Gillies and #11 W Matt Calvert