The Columbus Blue Jackets power play has been a riddle all season.
It was a unit that started slow, going just 1-for-19 in the team's first eight games, but showed signs of life late, particularly after the trade deadline when the Blue Jackets lead the league in scoring.
That carried over into the team's first round series against the Washington Capitals as the Blue Jackets went 7-for-15 on the power play in their last five games of the regular season and 4-for-9 on the man advantage in the first two games of the series – both overtime victories by the Blue Jackets on road ice.
|GAMES 1 and 2||4||9||.444|
|GAMES 3, 4 and 5||0||12||.000|
In the last three games – all losses to put the Jackets in a 3-2 series hole – the unit sputtered, going 0-for-12 combined in those games.
In Saturday's Game 5 loss in Washington, it was downright awful, going 0-for-5, squandering three opportunities in the first period alone to put a stamp on the game.
It wasn't just that the power play isn't converting. For most of the last three games, it's been a comedy of errors, failing to even set up in the Capitals' zone on a regular basis. While shorthanded, Washington has been able to harass Columbus puck-handlers with impunity, forcing turnovers, blasting the puck out of the zone and on some occasions, even forcing odd-man rushes the other direction.
“It's the little things in a game,” captain Nick Foligno said following his team's Game 5 loss.
Yesterday, the Blue Jackets played their best game of the series, carrying flow of the game for long stretches on the way to outshooting the Capitals, 42-29. The game was lost in overtime and a power play goal somewhere in the first three periods would have been the difference between being a game and up a game headed back to Columbus for Game 6.
For the Blue Jackets to see a Game 7, the power play must find signs of life.