Three Things: Another Game, Another Struggle For The Columbus Blue Jackets In Nashville

By Ed Francis on January 16, 2021 at 10:57 pm
Columbus is off to an 0-2 start.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The sequel was not better than the original.

Tied at 1 in the final period for the second time in three nights, the Columbus Blue Jackets allowed four goals in the final period and fell 5-2 to the Nashville Predators. Here are three things from a Saturday night in Music City:

Total Breakdown (Again)

Columbus has played 40 minutes of third period hockey in Nashville to start the season. They've allowed six goals in those 40 minutes. For reference, they've allowed two in the combined 80 minutes of first and second period play

"We just have to clean up the little things that cost us those goals in the back of our net," said Cam Atkinson.

He's right, but there were a little of little things, and most of them came in the third period, when the Predators scored four goals - including three in a span of 4:32 in a game that had been tied. 

Costly Mistakes

Many of the Predators' goals were easily preventable.

Elvis Merzlikins allowed five goals on 33 shots, but only one could be put squarely on him:

Nashville's second goal came on a sloppy turnover by Zach Werenski, and the Predators final two goals were less on Merzlikins than they were poor defensive execution. 

Is that as bad as it sounds? Maybe not. We know the Blue Jackets can play exceptional defense; we've seen it. All of the miscues tonight can be easily cleaned up; if it is, Columbus can be back in business in short order.   

Dynamic Del Zotto

There are not a lot of bright spots through the first two games, but Michael Del Zotto has certainly been one of them. Del Zotto was first in Columbus on a tryout contract, and officially signed a one-year contract during camp. In the season opener, he was tied for the team lead in shots. Saturday, he had a pair of assists and nearly scored on more than one occasion. MDZ was brought in to give the Jackets an offensive defenseman, and he's been just that thus far. If he keeps it up, he'll be a mainstay on the third pairing. 


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