The best part about going 0-2-0 is the chance to go 1-2-0, no?
Tonight, the Columbus Blue Jackets seek their first win of the season as they host the Buffalo Sabres, a team that has had a near opposite start to their 2019-2020 campaign.
2–0–0 (4 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
7 P.M. – FRIDAY, OCT. 4
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
Columbus has seen themselves be outscored 11-3 in their home and away openers, where Buffalo has been up 10-3 in that margin.
This is not a gimme first win by any means for the Blue Jackets, despite the Sabres' reputation the last few seasons. They seem to be a team on the rise and might finally be tapping into that potential this year, and it helps when your young stars in Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel are locked in, with four and three points through two contests.
It's early, but the Blue Jackets are already heavily struggling with the obstacles that most thought they would be tripped up by - inexperienced goaltending, lack of scoring, and a miserable power play.
The bright side? The Blue Jackets, in a similar "win by committee" storyline year in the 2016-2017 campaign, also started off the year losing their first two games. Last year, even, when Columbus went deeper in the postseason than ever before, were embarrassed in their home opener, and lost an early matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-2 (with Sergei Bobrovsky in net for all goals).
It's still early, folks. You'll have the full time to panic in a few months if these habits have stuck. For now, let's stay hopeful. Here are tonight's projected lines:
Extras: Harrington, Kukan
- Help the goaltender. Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins haven't had outstanding opening games by any means, but they haven't been helped out at all by the boys in blue in front of them. The Blue Jackets' defense needs to tighten up and limit second chances by opposing players. Shove players out of the crease, finish your checks, back-check - do anything you can do to help your goaltenders be more comfortable. They need the help right now.
- Stay disciplined. Through two games, the Blue Jackets have committed 12.5 penalties per game (fifth-worst in the league) and have allowed three power play goals (tied for worst in the league). They've seen decent success in 5 v 5 play this year, and need to get themselves a chance in that sense to stay competitive.
- Don't panic. Again, it's early. If the players get worried about replicating the 0-8-0 start from the 2015-2016 season, then they might end up replicating it. Take it one shift at a time, one game at a time, and know that the regular season is a marathon. There was a lot of turnover this summer so of course there would be growing pains. Take the mistakes and use them as the season is still young.
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