Five Thoughts: Pierre-Luc Dubois Impresses, Tyler Motte Continues To Move Up Lineup, And Something Has To Give On The Power Play

By Sam Blazer on November 28, 2017 at 12:23 am
Boone Jenner tries to sneak a puck past goaltender Carey Price
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA Today Sports
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It looked like a typical Columbus Blue Jackets game except for a five minute stretch during the first period. The Blue Jackets attacked consistently offensively and were able to get into the slot plenty against a Canadiens team down defensemen Shea Weber.

That five-minute barrage in the first period was enough to last the Canadiens the game as they came out ahead 3-1. The Blue Jackets won the shot differential battle at even strength with 55%. They also in all situations put up 72 attempted shots meaning the puck was on Columbus' stick an awful lot.

The Blue Jackets inability to convert on the power play would be the theme of the night and a consistent thorn in the team's side.

Dubois, your table is ready

One of the odder storylines of the early season has been the heaps of praise put upon Pierre-Luc Dubois despite not having a lot to back it up. Sure, he scored a goal tonight but his season goal and assist numbers aren't that great. This has come with an increase in ice time too.


After scoring a goal tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, it just shows what kind of player he can end up being in the league. He was often dominant on the puck and relentless in his forecheck pursuit. Add that to the fact that he controlled 60% of the shots at even strength, Dubois is showing that he is the real deal.

Playing on a line with Josh Anderson and Artemi Panarin always helps but he did this before joining their line and it will allow the Blue Jackets plenty of flexibility once Alexander Wennberg returns to the lineup.


Dubois has been an invaluable weapon to this team and he showed his worth once again tonight.

Tyler Motte Matters

A throw-in on the Brandon Saad-Artemi Panarin trade, Tyler Motte has continued to fill in when needed and contributed in all aspects of the game. Starting the game down in the lineup and then subsequently moving up, Motte was able to put two shots on net and contribute with four hits as well. 

While he didn't score tonight, he did, however, make the most of his ice time at 5v5 with a 60% shot differential. Motte did this all with only 13 minutes of ice time as well. You can't help but watch him play and think of Matt Calvert. Small, pesky and a nose for the net, Motte is fitting in with the Blue Jackets just fine.

Change The Power Play

The power play sucks. And that is putting it lightly. I could include plenty of expletives to how people feel about it but it plain old isn't working in its current iteration. 

So what is there to do about it? 

The fact that they keep trotting out the same units over and over again with minimal turnover isn't inspiring confidence. The young offensive players have been put on the second unit but they should be mixed into the first unit as well. Artemi Panarin is a player you want on that unit but why not put him with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand? These offensively gifted individuals know how to fill up the net and would be a welcome sight on a first unit that can barely generate a shot.

They also have an issue with entering the zone properly with very few players comfortable enough doing it on a consistent basis. Dumping it in is the last strategy you want to have on the power play and the first unit did it twice against the Canadiens. Strong players on the puck make a world of difference and net-front presences need to be just that, a net-front presence.

Nothing Minor About It

The two penalties from David Savard were absolutely avoidable and head-scratching, to say the least. For a player that has been in head coach John Tortorella's doghouse already this season, Savard was doing himself no favors. To make matters worse, Jonathan Drouin scored while he was in the box and that would end up being the game-winning goal. Savard took major steps last season to be a defensive force but this season has been more of a roller coaster meaning his ice time is always uncertain.

Similarly, Nick Foligno took a minor penalty in the middle of a stretch where the Blue Jackets were berating goaltender Carey Price with pucks. Foligno didn't take kindly to a hit thrown on Cam Atkinson. It didn't matter that Andrew Shaw was the guilty party, Foligno was wanting to go after anyone and everyone after the hit. It stopped the Blue Jackets in their tracks and after it, Columbus was never able to threaten in the offensive zone.

Who Comes Out?

At this point, we know that Alexander Wennberg is going to be returning to the Blue Jackets shortly. Who he replaces is going to be anyone's guess given the success of certain players. It appears likely that Jordan Schroeder will come out given his stat line of zero points but the Blue Jackets aren't going to trot Wennberg out on the fourth line. 

So who goes where?

Oliver Bjorkstrand saw time on the fourth line, Sonny Milano has been there before and it could be used as a place to motivate struggling veterans. It is a good problem to have if you're not sure where to place your players but putting them in a position to succeed is an entirely different challenge. One that John Tortorella will be facing in the days ahead.


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