3 Things: Slow Start, Slow Finish From Everyone Dooms Blue Jackets As Oilers' Top Line Shines

By Chris Pennington on March 2, 2019 at 3:29 pm
Scott Harrington struggles to contain Connor McDavid in Saturday's game for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Edmonton Oilers

© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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This was a good game to put the 'sleep timer' on with your TV.

In a snoozer of an afternoon game against the lowly Edmonton Oilers (12th place in the Western Conference), the Columbus Blue Jackets were shutout by a score of 4-0 in front of a sellout crowd.

Coming off of a thrilling overtime victory against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, the Blue Jackets came out cold and finished that way against the Oilers, never seeming to string more than two solid shifts together.

The Blue Jackets' sluggish defensive play, goaltender woes and Connor McDavid doing his thing are the theme of this afternoon's 3 Things:


Mediocre D-Zone Play

The Blue Jackets have been without Ryan Murray for a few weeks now. At this point, it's clear that they miss him immensely.

In their own zone, the Blue Jackets struggled mightily to get the puck moving on the breakout. The Blue Jackets committed eleven – yes, eleven – turnovers during the game, leading directly to a couple of the Oilers' goals. 

With the game still wide open at the start of the second period, the Oilers controlled the Blue Jackets' zone for nearly two minutes, getting to change line in the process, and eventually buried the second goal of the afternoon. Minutes later, Adam McQuaid had a soft pass intercepted by Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl that led to the third goal of the game, letting any and all air completely out of the building.

Sergei Bobrovsky Struggling

It was that sort of afternoon for the two-time Vezina winning goaltender.

Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled from his duties after two periods, allowing four goals on 15 shots, for a .789 save percentage.

After recording back-to-back shutouts last week and earning star-of-the-week honors from the NHL, Bobrovsky has flipped the script completely. He has now let in 11 goals in just under three games, and the shots that were scored in him haven't seemed like the...most difficult.

With the Blue Jackets' playoff hopes still up in the air, this certainly isn't the time for Bobrovsky to start flaming out, though his play the entire year has been inconsistent, so we should fully expect three shutouts next week.

Oilers' Top Line Shines

It's always fun when Connor McDavid doesn't need to score to make a tremendous impact on the outcome of a game.

The Oilers' first line of McDavid, Draisaitl and Alex Chiasson skated circles in the Blue Jackets' defensive end all afternoon, finishing with a combined +8.

Chiasson finished with one assist, while Draisaitl had two goals (to push his career high in goals to 41) and one assist, and McDavid had three assists of his own. Though McDavid was held without a goal, his length and unbelievable speed and agility led to endless scoring chances for his line mates, and eventually three goals on the scoreboard.

Draisaitl normally centers his own line, but was bumped up to play with McDavid for the afternoon, and it was clearly the right move by former Blue Jacket coach, current Oilers' coach Ken Hitchcock. 

Bonus: Fourth Thing

In an utterly boring afternoon game, the Blue Jackets' in-game promotional team decided to play a music lineup of "Baby Shark", and "Chicken Dance" during the third period, eventually washing it all down with a rousing performance of the "Hockey Song".

If the crowd is starting to nod off, might as well annoy them to death.

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