Three Things: Strong Starts and Heartbreak

By Sam Blazer on December 29, 2019 at 8:12 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (44) carries the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks center Kirby Dach (77) during the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA Today Sports

The Blue Jackets have continued their point streak but with it let a game they should have won get lost in the shootout against the Chicago Blackhawks. 

It is an indication of what is wrong with the Blue Jackets this year but could prove to be another learning experience for a club so darn young.

Here are your three thoughts:

Strong start for what?

The Blue Jackets scored two goals in the first period and it appeared that with the way that they started they would have an opportunity to cruise against the Blackhawks. It didn't end up going that way despite goals from Riley Nash and Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The team has consistently been scrappy and found ways to stay in games. The real goal will end up being maintaining those leads. Scoring is a great way to alleviate any sort of pressure on the goaltender. Goalie Joonas Korpisalo has played well enough that he should be able to have a night off where he isn't completely on his "A" game.

It is excusable with so many AHL players in the lineup but you worry about the culture it may breed if it happens with a full-strength lineup.

Finding Balance

The Blue Jackets have a lineup with experience including players from the AHL like Nathan Gerbe, it means that not too many players are going to be wide-eyed when they take the ice. Regardless of the record, this should be a time that the team should be trying out different things with the lineup. 

The preaching of structure is all well and good but it doesn't help younger players to not see the ice against some of the best. Forward Eric Robinson saw just over ten minutes of ice, Jacob Lilja saw under ten minutes of ice time. These players aren't necessarily future first liners but now is the moment to find out who they are exactly.

This isn't just for now, this is for the future too. 

Korpisalo is Solid

The question before the season was about who the goaltender was going to be. Joonas Korpisalo came in with the most experience and it remained to be seen who was going to show up. Korpisalo continues to show up and show up in spades.

Despite the shootout loss, the Finnish goaltender put up a .933 save percentage and deserved a better fate. Giving up two goals in the third period is never a recipe for success but he has earned the right to be bailed out from time to time. 

This is their starter and they may very well run him into the ground with the number of times he has taken the ice this year. Nonetheless, Korpisalo has shown that he is the number one horse and the team would do right by bailing him out on a night like tonight.

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