This early into a season you don’t want to use the words make or break, but the Jackets could ill afford to have a bad California trip. This can be a tough trip for the best of teams, let alone a team that is struggling to find itself. The Jackets needed to come away from this trip with some points, and after the first game they did just that.
This wasn’t their best game, San Jose looked every bit as good as advertised. The Jackets though did a little bit to the Sharks what the Detroit Red Wings did to them. They came out fast and aggressive and set the tone for how this game was going to be played.
Sergei Bobrovsky had his second consecutive strong outing and the Jackets came away with two big points.
Here are tonight’s Three Things
A less than ideal start
The Blue Jackets needed a fast start. The Sharks are a very dangerous team you cannot afford to play catch-up against them, especially in their building. The Blue Jackets to their credit had their legs under them. They were flying and were creating havoc on the Sharks defenders. They put up 11 shots, eight scoring chances and five high danger chances in the opening frame.
The Blue Jackets however still allowed a first period goal, their 18th allowed this season. Coming into tonight’s game Columbus’ 17 first period goals allowed were the most in the league. It’s difficult to win games when you always have to play catch-up. The Jackets were behind the eight-ball but not for long. Anthony Duclair, who continues to impress, scored his fifth of the season to tie the game up.
The Blue Jackets have plenty of team speed and they showed it. Building upon that first thought, they used their speed to create turnovers and pressure the Sharks defensemen. Leading the way for the Blue Jackets in this regard was Anthony Duclair. Scoring the Jackets first goal he was quick to corral a pass he missed and quickly darted around the net to score on the wrap around. On the Jackets second goal he was stride for stride with Seth Jones and the two of them passed back and forth giving the Blue Jackets a lead.
On the third goal it wasn’t foot speed but decision making speed. The Blue Jackets were able to once again, disrupt the Sharks defenders, this time forcing Erik Karlsson into a bad pass. Nick Foligno darted up the ice, Markus Nutivaara was able to see him and get the pass through to him. Foligno made no mistake, scoring on the breakaway.
A lot was made on the broadcast of the Blue Jackets shot blocking. It was certainly impressive they blocked 30 shots to just four for San Jose, but impressive doesn’t mean good. The Jackets hardly had the puck. San Jose was controlling the game taking shot after shot. The Blue Jackets had a Corsi at 5 on 5 of 31.48%, which is horrendous.
If you don’t have the puck very often what you have to do to win is not allow shots to get to your goaltender, the Blue Jackets did that, and you have to be able to take advantage of your limited opportunities when you do get them. The Blue Jackets did just that. The Sharks had the shot advantage but the Blue Jackets still managed to get plenty of scoring chances.
Long-term playing like this will catch up to you but for one night it worked, and the Blue Jackets should be thankful for that.