Seattle Kraken goalie Phillip Grubauer was dynamite, but even down in the third, it always felt like the Columbus Blue Jackets would pick up the win.
Patrik Laine made sure they did just that.
After Eric Robinsin tied the game around the ten minute mark of the final period, Laine's overtime game winner sent the home crowd home happy for the second time in three nights.
It's amazing, though, how different those two games were. Here are three things from a Saturday night at Nationwide:
The Blue Jackets scored eight times in Thursday's season opener and won by six, but there were significant grains of salt to take it with. Arizona isn't exactly the '97 Red Wings, but they outperformed Columbus in most numbers aside from the one that matters. In fact, the analytics used by MoneyPuck (expected goals, shot attempts, puck possession, save quality, etc.) say that the Coyotes would win that game 79% of the time, and by an average score of 4-2. But hey, that's why they play the game.
Meanwhile, Saturday's affair with Seattle is one that, according to those same MoneyPuck metrics, would go to Columbus two out of three times. Columbus played a cleaner game defensively, allowing just 20 shots on goal (as opposed to 38 against Arizona), in part because they were much better in possessing the puck and pressuring the Seattle forwards. The Kraken play a far more physical game than the Coyotes, and to see Columbus match that style was a good sign.
Patrik Laine, Goal-Scorer
Laine being stuffed on a second period breakaway was brutal. It was over halfway into the game, neither team had scored, and it was the first really quality scoring chance for the Blue Jackets. Then Grubauer extended his pad to a painful-to-watch level and denied Laine's backhand attempt.
Goal-scorers never give up though. Laine's next best chance would come just over two minutes into overtime, and instead of trying to sneak one past Grubauer, Patty would instead do what he does best: let 'er rip.
Can we bottle that rocket and share it with the team?
The Friendly Confines
Thursday's opener was amazing, but didn't have that come-from-behind atmosphere that Saturday did. Robinson's game-tying goal sent the crowd into relief mode, but Laine's game winner was loud jubilation. For about half of the roster, the last two nights have been the first time they've played in front of a packed house at Nationwide Arena. That had to feel good, and if this team can keep up a home-ice advantage, this season could get interesting in a hurry.