Three Things: Closing Out Is Hard To Do, but the Blue Jackets Recovered to Beat Nashville

By Paul Berthelot on January 10, 2019 at 10:53 pm
Ryan Murray Seth Jones and Nick Foligno celebrate with Boone Jenner after scoring against the Nashville Predators

Russell LaBounty – USA TODAY Sports

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After a bit of an odd day for the Blue Jackets, it was only fitting the game would have some weird quirks of its own.

Sergei Bobrovsky was not with the team for tonight’s game, which meant Joonas Korpisalo would be getting the start against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets also had a different lineup as both Lukas Sedlak and Eric Robinson were in for Brandon Dubinsky and Markus Hannikainen, who were placed on injured reserve.

The Blue Jackets were able to ignore the off-ice business when it came time to game time, and they they took care of business to rebound nicely from a 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay.

Here are tonight’s three things:


Korpisalo

With Bobrovsky out for tonight, this game fell into Joonas Korpisalo’s hands. In a season in which the Blue Jackets have to make some big decisions in net, Korpisalo has not made the most of his opportunities. An .889 save percentage is not what you want to see from someone potentially auditioning for the starter's role for next season; tonight, however, he gave a glimmer of hope that perhaps he could handle himself in a larger role.

Nashville is a strong team, and could have easily run wild and put up five or more. Korpisalo was strong for about 55 minutes before allowing two quick goals late in the third (though it's hard to fault him on either). Regardless, this was a much better effort from Korpisalo and he gave them a chance to win. 

Getting the monkey off their backs

It’s about time. The Columbus Blue Jackets scored a power play goal. They had not scored a power play goal since Dec. 13 against the Los Angeles Kings – a span of 25 straight power plays and close to a month between goals. Yikes. The power play stepped up big time, and just when the team needed it. The player to end the drought was none other than the Blue Jackets' best, Artemi Panrin, who scored a power play goal in the third period to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead and then scored another in OT to win the game.

Closing Games Out

The Blue Jackets need a closer. Far too many times this season, they've let a third period lead slip away. These are valuable points you don’t want to be giving away, though against Nashville it’s not a problem as they're in the Western Conference. But we have seen this happen against Philadelphia and the New York Rangers. The team needs to be much smarter and tighten up defensively when they have a late lead. That’s not saying they need to go into total "turtle mode," but certain decisions need to be better.

David Savard, for example, on the tying goal: he makes an aggressive low-percentage pinch at the blue line the weakly backhands the puck into the slot, and Nashville easily corrals it and is gone on a 2-on-1. A play like that should never happen, but especially not in a game where you have a late one-goal lead.  

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