Three Things: Stuck In The Mud, A Chore To Score, And Depth Questions For the Blue Jackets

By Rob Mixer on October 5, 2018 at 11:24 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois fights for position in front of the Carolina Hurricanes net at Nationwide Arena.

Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

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If you're still awake reading this, bless you.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets have never been known to lock horns in a barn-burner; nevertheless, it's up to the home team to collect the energy in its home opener, and the Blue Jackets were flat tonight.

Flat, and sloppy.

Curtis McElhinney – yes, him – made 31 saves and stymied the Blue Jackets all night long, picking up his first win with Carolina in his first week as a Hurricane. Not a bad start.

Here are tonight's "3 Things":


FLAT TIRES

The Blue Jackets want to play fast, and they want to play direct. Pressure the opposition's defense and create chaos and turnovers. They were sloooooooooow tonight. Chalk it up to sloppiness, because in that regard, the legs feed the wolf; passes into skates, missed passes, mix-ups in the neutral zone...everything figures into a team looking (and playing) slow, and the Blue Jackets were that team tonight. Did a 13-minute delay at the start of the game have anything to do with it?

Perhaps, but John Tortorella quickly shut down that notion when asked about it post-game.

It goes without saying, but the Blue Jackets need to pump more than one goal past McElhinney. Which leads us to...

OFFENSIVE OFFENSIVELY

In two nights, the Blue Jackets have scored three goals against a projected lottery team (Detroit) and one goal against a middle-of-the-pack team playing a goaltender it picked off waivers a few days earlier. It's not been the most encouraging start for Tortorella's offense and he's already reached for the blender. 

Let's not even start with the power play. 

Where's the spark going to come from? The Blue Jackets need to get out of this rut and get something from their depth, too, because invisible nights from the likes of Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alexander Wennberg and Riley Nash just isn't going to work. 

SHALLOW ATTACK

The Blue Jackets have talked about wanting to be a four-line team. That's one of the reasons they added to the mix this summer with Nash and Anthony Duclair, and while Duclair has shown flashes of what he can do, the same can't be said for Nash. He looks slow. Tortorella, so far, can't seem to find the right spot and right line mates for him. 

Outside of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson, the Blue Jackets' attack is occasionally dangerous. It's the only line that's stuck together, and tonight even they were temporarily separated with Josh Anderson jumping up on the right wing. 

They just need more. It's that simple.

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