At the start of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets had a problem with their second period play. Slow. Uninspired. Hesitant.
The good news? That seems to have been fixed.
The bad news? They've shifted that play to the first period, which has caused them to try and crawl out of a rut for the remainder of their games.
The Blue Jackets have lost six of their last ten games. All six loses came in games which Columbus failed to score the first goal of the game.
It's becoming a trend. They are a team that is coming out flat, getting gut-punched, and then taking too long to try and get back in the fight.
"What makes it so much harder for us is getting scored on early again in the first period, and then getting scored on early in the beginning of another period," said Head Coach John Tortorella on Monday. "We're constantly chasing the game."
The talk of the league over the past few weeks was the Blue Jackets' "all-in" mentality, adding 20+ goal scorers in Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. But since those two have been brought in, the club is on one of their worst offensive droughts of the season, including first period scoring.
During the past ten games, the Blue Jackets have scored a lowly 2.3 goals per game, and just 2.5 since Duchene and Dzingel joined. In the 55 games leading up to that point, they had held a 3.27 goals per game average, ranking amongst the best in the league.
So, how important is that all-important first goal?
|When CBJ Score First||25-5-2||9-2-1||16-3-1|
|When Opp. Scores First||11-21-1||8-14-1||3-7-0|
|When Leading After First||20-4-0||8-2-0||12-2-0|
|When Trailing After First||7-18-0||4-11-0||3-7-0|
|When Tied After First||9-4-3||5-3-2||7-2-0|
|When Leading After Two||23-2-0||12-1-0||11-1-0|
|When Trailing After Two||1-19-1||0-12-0||1-7-1|
|When Tied After Two||12-5-2||5-3-2||7-2-0|
- In 26 home games this season, the Blue Jackets have scored the first goal of the game just 12 times.
- When their opponent scores first (when the Blue Jackets are home), they have a 36% chance at winning.
- The Blue Jackets have gone into a third period trailing in 21 games this season, and have only completed a comeback in...one of those games. On the road.
So, statistically, if you're at Nationwide Arena and the Blue Jackets are down a goal heading into the second period, you should go and try to beat traffic.
With the playoff race as tight as ever, this is the perfect opportunity for the Blue Jackets to go on a run and enter the postseason on a good vibe (should they make it there). To get to that point, the way they are coming out on the ice to start games needs to change - and fast.
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