The Columbus Blue Jackets knew this would be a tough road trip to start the 2016-17 season. But so far, they have managed to pick up three of four points in their first two games of a four-game road swing out west, including a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night.
Tuesday’s match-up was one the Blue Jackets thought they should have been able to win, but the Kings’ patient play ended up getting the better of Columbus.
“We knew it was going to be a grinding-type game,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. “That’s a tough team over there. It was going to be a matter of a lucky bounce and unfortunately it didn’t go our way, and we just couldn’t find a way to win in extra time.”
Tortorella agreed with Foligno about how neither team had many offensive opportunities and that it would be a matter of who capitalized on theirs first.
“There just weren’t a lot of scoring chances in the game,” Tortorella said. “That’s just the way these games are played. We talked about how it was going to be a grind and how there were going to be one-on-one battles. That’s the way [the Kings] play—they don’t give up much and it’s who blinks first. They slipped one by [Bobrovsky] and found a way to win it in overtime.”
Tuesday was the first game of the young season where the Blue Jackets faced the 3-on-3 overtime. That inexperience showed and resulted in the Kings’ game-winning goal.
Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad was on the ice when Kings forward Alec Martinez scored the overtime winner.
“We were trying to make plays in the offensive zone and maybe we got caught on the ice there a little too long and were beat up the ice,” Saad said. “The puck fell right next to the net for them, but yeah, I can’t get beat up the ice like that.”
Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones was caught on the ice for an extended period of time, and was the one who turned the puck over in the offensive zone. However, Tortorella said he was not disappointed in the young defenseman’s play tonight.
“He’s trying to make something happen like he did all game,” Tortorella said. “It’s easy to pick him apart, but I thought he played a hell of a game so I’m not going to put any blame on him. He’ll learn from it. That’s what happens with these 3-on-3’s–if you lose the puck in the offensive zone and it’s a turnover, there’s something dangerous coming back the other way. They scored a goal, but Jonesy made some great plays tonight. He was a horse.”
Foligno said that aside from Jones, the rest of his teammates would learn from tonight’s final result.
“We can take a lot of lessons from that game about what type of team we need to be and how we can be successful doing it,” Foligno said. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t come out on the right end. We are in the business to get two points here and every point matters so we have to find a way to make up for that one, but now we have to make sure we don’t get too low and have a big game in San Jose.”
Like Foligno, Tortorella thought the team did well enough to earn two points but said the focus is now on the next game.
“For a number of minutes, I thought we were right there,” Tortorella said. “We will take point and leave out of here tomorrow. We have another game coming up soon here, get ready for that one.”
That next game will take place in San Jose against the Sharks on Thursday for the third game of four in the Blue Jackets’ west coast road trip.