Three Things: Solid Start, But Listless Finish in the Blue Jackets' Season Opener

By Rob Mixer on January 14, 2021 at 10:57 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) is unable to take the puck from Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (95) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

You wouldn't call this an ideal start. 

The Blue Jackets started well in their season opener in Nashville. They ended poorly.

Columbus had only 11 percent of 5-on-5 shot attempts in the third period of a 3-1 loss at Bridgestone Arena. It was a putrid third period effort from the Blue Jackets in a 1-1 game, who looked out of sorts and out of sync to kick off 2020-21.

Let's dig into it, shall we?

Third Period Woes

John Tortorella wants his team to be a third period team.

They were decidedly *not* that tonight. Nashville dominated the third period, limiting the Blue Jackets' time with the puck and giving them little room to operate in the offensive zone. Those extended shifts you saw in the first period quickly dissipated, and it was a long night for Columbus' top players after that.

If the Blue Jackets are going to hang around in the Central Division this year, they have to find a way to close games out. Tonight was an encapsulation of what they cannot afford to have happen.

Defensive Miscues

We know these Blue Jackets to be a solid defensive team. The Predators, despite barely threatening early in the game, found a way to keep chipping away and dent Columbus for two goals on two similar plays.

Yes, the Blue Jackets want their defense to be active. They want to jump up in the play, and create offense from the back end to overwhelm opponents. Nashville turned that on its head with the tying goal and the go-ahead goal–nearly carbon copies of one another.

Joonas Korpisalo turned in a solid performance, but there's not much he can do about a pair of 2-on-1s born from neutral-zone breakdowns. 


"We didn't have enough (offense) in the third," said Boone Jenner, who scored the Blue Jackets' only goal.

That's an understatement. But hey, it's only the opener and there are 55 games left to go.

The Blue Jackets, at one point, were out-shot 12-1 and Tortorella was forced to bust up his lines, separating Max Domi, Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno after two periods. This was a line that had a lot of training camp promise, but didn't have much going and it was a microcosm of their night.

"We did a lot of chasing," Cam Atkinson said. "It was tough to generate anything... it's one game, we have to turn the page. Whatever happens, you can't get too high or too low."

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