Amongst Other Issues, Missed Opportunities Cost the Blue Jackets In a Game 4 Loss to the Bruins

By Chris Pennington on May 3, 2019 at 11:27 am
Matt Duchene failed to register a shot in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins.

Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

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The Blue Jackets' only goal in Game 4 shouldn't have counted.

That's just the kind of night it was for them.

In a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, that lone Columbus goal came off a deflected shot that hit the upper netting – which should have whistled the play dead. The referees (somehow) didn't see it and play continued, leading to a goal by Artemi Panarin.

This was the only Blue Jackets shot that found the net in Game 4, but it wasn't for a lack of chances. There were plenty of those.

Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask was excellent, but the Blue Jackets scoring one goal on 40 shots is odd, considering the quality of looks that Columbus was creating throughout the game.

"(Rask) played well," said Boone Jenner following the 4-1 loss. "We have to try to bury a couple more."

After the Bruins jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, the Blue Jackets turned it on, at least in regards to scoring chancesAside from the fluky Panarin goal, they failed to convert on a penalty shot, they didn't score on a power play opportunity and missed on seven high danger chances. And that was just the first period.

Jenner himself had six shots on goal, many of those on the penalty kill.

"I obviously want to put one of them in the back of the net," Jenner said post-game, putting it bluntly. 

"How many shorthanded chances did (Jenner) have, four or five?" said head coach John Tortorella. "He keeps working. I liked what that line did at certain times with penalty killing."

The second period was brought more of the same: missed opportunities.

Despite taking more penalty minutes in a game since Dec. 22, the Blue Jackets controlled 5-on-5 play with roughly 55% of chances through the first two periods. They had 11 (yes, 11) high danger chances in all situations through the first 40 minutes, and didn't score on any of them.

"I liked what we looked like going into the third period," said Tortorella. "I didn't mind our 5-on-5 for a lot of the game."

By the time the third period rolled around, the Blue Jackets' frustration was as high as it had been in these playoffs. They only registered four total scoring chances in the final frame at 5-on-5, and a Sean Kuraly goal for Boston halfway through the period took any remaining air out of the building.

A Pierre-Luc Dubois shot that hit the post minutes later was the (spoiled) icing on the cake.

"We had some good chances, we just couldn't score," said Tortorella. "I thought when it was 2-1, we had more than a couple of chances to tie the game, Rask made some big saves at key times."

The good news? The Blue Jackets put up 40 shots on goal in only their second loss of the postseason. The playoffs are a grind, folks, and games like this are to be expected in any team that looks to make a Stanley Cup run. There will be ups and downs, and this has been an air-tight series from the start. The sky is far from falling.

"For me, it's 0-0," said Cam Atkinson. "We'll take away a lot of good positives from that game, and be ready to go in Boston."

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