The Columbus Blue Jackets had plenty of chances to win tonight, despite falling behind early, but it seemed like every time they rallied to tighten the gap or tie the game, they instantly collapsed and gave up another goal.
Not exactly what the Blue Jackets were hoping for in their first game back from the all-star break.
Here are tonight’s three things:
Rusty out of the break
Again, coming out of the all-star break you would have expected the Blue Jackets to be rested and ready. That was clearly not the case, as the Buffalo Sabres scored on their first shot of the game. Columbus immediately responded, but some sloppy play from the Blue Jackets saw them head to intermission with a 3-1 deficit.
As Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois mentioned in his first intermission interview, the team's timing was off. Their breakouts weren’t sharp, their forecheck wasn’t strong, everything was just a little bit off, and that led to the early hole.
The Marty St. Louis effect
We saw a new power play tonight, thanks to newly-hired team consultant and hockey hall-of-famer Martin St-Louis, and the results were good right out of the gate.
The first unit remained intact – with the exception of Zach Werenski placed up top – and they came through with a goal in the second period. Artemi Panarin slid the puck down to Nick Foligno who made a strong move to the net and jammed it in. St. Louis liked what he saw.
A tale of two all-stars
The Blue Jackets had two players take part in the NHL all-star game in San Jose. In their first game back, one played like an all-star and one did not. Cam Atkinson had two points including a huge third period goal to tie the game at four. He also added seven shots and two high danger chances for good measure.
On the other end, Seth Jones did not have an all-star performance. He was held pointless, took just two shots and was on the ice for two goals against and one for. He got beaten badly by Jeff Skinner on the Sabres fourth goal. To top it off, his 44.44% Corsi was well below the 52.57% he’s put up this season. Perhaps he was a little more banged up than was let on?
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