After the Blue Jackets’ 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Pierre Luc-Dubois spoke on his sharp-angle goal, the team’s only tally. “It felt good…to get back in the game 2-1,” Dubois said.
While the odd-angled shot may have seemed like a mere attempt to get a puck on net, Dubois said there was much more to it than that. "I wasn't really throwing it on net. I knew exactly what I was doing," said Dubois.
Dubois’ goal gave the Blue Jackets an opportunity to challenge the Ducks in the third period after conceding two second period chances. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t get another one, but I just got to keep shooting,” said Dubois.
With Dubois’ goal, each member of the Blue Jackets’ first line has a tally in the young season. But don’t let this statistic distract from fact that the top line has struggled so far at even strength.
On the season, Dubois, Atkinson, and Nyquist have combined for just two 5-on-5 points, both goals. Dubois’ came off a great individual effort, and Nyquist scored his goal while playing with center Riley Nash.
Atkinson is without a point at even strength in four games. While he has known to be a streaky scorer, it does not bode well for the Blue Jackets’ if their most offensively-gifted forward does not produce.
Each member of the first line has great offensive potential. Dubois, Atkinson, and Nyquist combined for 190 points last season, and if the Blue Jackets want to compete in tight games like Friday's 2-1 loss to Anaheim, they need this potential to be realized.
While there are reasons for this offensive scarcity – the three have only been playing together since late in the first game and Dubois and Atkinson are undoubtedly adjusting to playing without Artemi Panarin - the line with the most offensive talent must produce if the Blue Jackets want to compete for a spot in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Goal-scoring confidence can be fickle, but also contagious. Perhaps, Dubois' goal will spark the centre's linemates going forward. But so far, the lack of even strength output is a cause for offensive concern in the young season.