Three Things: Blue Jackets Unable To Slow Jets Top Players In Devastating Home Loss

By Dan Dukart on March 3, 2019 at 9:54 pm
Sergei Bobrovsky attempts to make the save as Scott Harrington reacts against the Winnipeg Jets in the first period at Nationwide Arena.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Better, but not good enough.

For the second consecutive day, the Blue Jackets lost a crucial game on home ice, as they move further out of a playoff spot, as they fell to the Winnipeg Jets by a 5-2 final score.

Sure, the effort was evident, especially when compared to Saturday's embarrassing loss to the Edmonton Oilers, but this isn't a team that can afford to be interested in moral victories.

With the loss, the club moves to 3-8-0 in their past 11 games at Nationwide Arena.

Here are tonight's 3 Things:


How About Scoring The First Goal Next Time

For the third consecutive game, the Blue Jackets surrendered the first goal of the game. They came back and won in OT against Philadelphia and were 2-2 with the Jets after two periods, but simply put: it's hard to win hockey games when you're constantly behind the eight ball.

For whatever reason, this team has struggled at home, especially early in games. Perhaps heading on the road for Tuesday and Thursday games at New Jersey and Pittsburgh will be the remedy the club needs to put the other team on its heels and not the other way around.

Getting away from Nationwide Arena sounds great right about now. The club's home record of 17-16-2 means that fans go home seeing losses more often than wins. Not exactly a recipe for playing well into the spring. 

Out-dueled

Sometimes we over-complicate hockey. Sergei Bobrovsky didn't play great. Connor Hellebuyck did. Am I pinning the loss on Bobrovsky? Definitely not.

Three of Winnipeg's goals came after sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Bobrovsky couldn't see Sami Niku's shot go over his shoulder thanks to a swarm of traffic in front of the net. Blake Wheeler, who became the first player ever to score four goals in one game against the Blue Jackets re-directed two shots, the second of which no goalie in the world would save. The fourth goal he allowed was on a 2-on-1 that turned into a mini-breakaway.

John Tortorella said in his post-game press conference that scoring chances (that his staff keeps) were 22-9 in favor of Columbus. Hellebuyck was outstanding. 

Jets Top Line Shines

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets were humiliated by their opponent's top line. The Jets top trio of Wheeler (4-0-4) Mark Scheifele (0-3-3) and Patrik Laine (0-1-1) were able to hem the home team in the defensive zone for long stretches and also iced the game on a quick-strike play.  

The goal below made the game 2-1, and while the Blue Jackets came back to tie the game at 2-2, it still gnawed at me more than the other goals.

The Jets scored 0:35 into the second period. The Blue Jackets had several chances to get the puck out of the zone but were unsuccessful. After 30+ seconds of chasing the puck, it ends up in the back of the net. It was the type of goal that happens when a team is worn down and on its last legs, not in the first shift of the second period in a huge home game for a team in a playoff push. Winnipeg wasn't going to be denied on this shift. There were enough shifts like this on Sunday for the Jets. So they won. 

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