Mats Zuccarello (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to want to forget Friday night’s loss to the New York Rangers. Up 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining, the Blue Jackets surrendered three goals in 77 seconds and dropped their season-opening contest 4-2.
With less than three minutes remaining in Friday’s tilt between the Rangers and Blue Jackets, it appeared Columbus was set to send the Blueshirts home with their first loss of the season. Instead, it took all of 77 seconds for the Rangers to bury three tallies and pick up their second victory of the season.
The Rangers’ nearly unthinkable comeback began with a broken play at the Columbus blueline. With the puck on his stick just inside his own zone, Blue Jackets defenseman Kevin Connauton went to send a pass up ice, which happened to catch Rangers center J.T. Miller in the leg. Miller and Connauton converged on the puck, the New York pivot poked it past the Columbus defenseman and Rangers rookie Oscar Lindberg scooped up the loose puck before snapping a shot that found its way past Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
It was an unfortunate break for Columbus, but their situation got worse 17 seconds later:
It’s too early to say which way the Blue Jackets’ season is going to end up, but if they miss the post-season by one point, Kevin Hayes’ terrible-angle goal on Bobrovsky to give the Rangers the win is going to haunt some fans. That Hayes was able to score by throwing the puck on net from the corner is simply a mental error by the generally sound Bobrovsky — chalk it up to early season rust.
The capper came when a loose puck slid out of Blue Jackets’ right wing corner and onto the stick of Mats Zuccarello, who wasted little time firing a wrist shot that beat Bobrovsky to the blocker side.
Columbus won’t have to wait long to avenge their Friday night loss, however. The Blue Jackets head to Madison Square Garden Saturday evening to play the Rangers in their home-opener.