Three Things: Plenty of Blame to Go Around As Blue Jackets Lose Season Series to Oilers

By Chris Pennington on March 22, 2019 at 12:10 am
Cam Atkinson is nearing Rick Nash's single-season record for goals scored for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but has stalled as of late.
© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The playoff picture is still alive. But nights like tonight are as frustrating as it gets.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, just weeks after getting blanked at home to the Edmonton Oilers, had a near-repeat performance, but this time on the road by a score of 4-1.

Their offense sputtered and stalled, the defense got caught unfocused in multiple instances, and their forward lines were in a blender once again.

These are the themes of tonight's Three Things:

So...who's going to start scoring?

The Blue Jackets loaded up at the trade deadline, adding two 20-goal scoring forwards, and seemed prepared to light the lamp more than they ever had as a club.

Instead, their biggest scorers are in some of the worst slumps of their respective careers. The top six scorers on the season for the Blue Jackets have scored a combined total of eight goals in the last ten games. Amongst that group, Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois, each have zero goals during that time.

After tonight, they have officially been outscored by the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 8-1 on the season, and their lone goal came from a D-to-D connection. Commence heavy sigh.

“Enough with the meetings, enough with the talk. We gotta find a way to motivate ourselves and motivate yourself individually to be the best player you can be every night and be the best player for this team.”– Blue Jackets Defenseman Seth Jones

Defensive Narcolepsy

The Blue Jackets defensive depth, or lack-there-of, is getting more and more noticeable every game. With Ryan Murray sidelined indefinitely, opponents are having a field day against the likes of Adam McQuaid, Scott Harrington and the occasional Dean Kukan. 

But tonight - even the Blue Jackets' two best defensemen were inefficient. Both Seth Jones and Zach Werenski both had CF% under 45, and were both -3 on the night. 

The primary assist by Markus Nutivaara to David Savard on the Blue Jackets lone goal was enough to smile at, but a quick response by the Oilers after Jones was knocked off the puck ended that 15 seconds of fame for the second pairing. 

John Tortorella Blender Alive and Well

Just when one thinks that the Blue Jackets' forward lines are starting to settle in, they get shuffled.

Tonight, the example was a newly banded group of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Josh Anderson, followed by a second(?) line of Cam Atkinson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Ryan Dzingel.

Both lines had their chances, but the time needed to build chemistry with line mates cannot be ignored, and it seems like coach John Tortorella is ready to flip the switch a little too quick at times. 

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