The Columbus Blue Jackets scored five goals but still managed to lose to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.
And while the obvious storylines coming out of the game were the botched call by the NHL and Patrik Laine's patented one-timer arriving on the scene at Nationwide Arena in a big way, the more pressing storyline (to me, anyways) is the club's inability to break the puck out of their zone cleanly. While the fourth goal will live on in infamy, the truth is the Blue Jackets gave the puck away on the first three goals the Hurricanes scored.
Unfortunately, this isn't a new issue in the early season, and the sooner the team can lower the turnover rate in their own zone, the better off they'll be.
So, instead of dissecting the good (read: Laine and Foligno's offensive game), we're going to have a sobering look at three plays that started well and ended in goals against.
PLAY #1: GAVRIKOV'S TURNOVER
Tic - tac - Brock pic.twitter.com/AH9i1Y58Nh— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 7, 2021
The play starts innocuously enough, with David Savard chunking a puck off the wall to Gavrikov. Mikko Koivu, the center, swings low as a support option. Instead of hinging back behind the net to Savard or chipping it into space for Koivu, Gavrikov tries to beat Andrei Svechnikov with an inside deke.
Svechnikov doesn't bite on the fake and steals the puck. The Blue Jackets immediately go into scramble mode, with Koivu going in to help. Svechnikov sends the puck into the slot for a two-on-one, and the Hurricanes capitalize.
PLAY #2: KORPISALO'S TURNOVER
All square in Columbus! pic.twitter.com/Ojyrgyke85— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 7, 2021
And Jordo just keeps dishing pic.twitter.com/WP5kzFfBN8— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 7, 2021
Another innocuous-looking play, the Hurricanes dump the puck in deep and send one forechecker to pressure the Blue Jackets goaltender. Joonas Korpisalo goes behind the net to stop the rim, looks up, and sees Hurricanes' captain Jordan Staal. Unsure of what's behind him, he rims the puck on his strong side up the wall.
Scott Harrington, who in theory should be there for support, isn't, since he pinched earlier in the play. That's no excuse for Korpisalo, who has an easy safety valve behind him in Michael Del Zotto. Nash, who tracks back towards his own net, isn't a viable option in the middle of the ice. Forcing the puck up the wall, the Hurricanes' Ryan Dzingel puts the puck low to Staal, who centers to Warren Foegele for the goal.
PLAY #3: KUKAN'S TURNOVER
Pesce picked his spot and pic.twitter.com/soqUC4Y2y5— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 7, 2021
Like goal two, this play began with a Hurricanes dump-in. Unable to retrieve this one, Korpisalo lets his defensemen figure this one out on their own. Dean Kukan gets the first touch but is quickly pressured by Jesper Fast. Jones goes to the corner, anticipating a quick reverse play (something he's accustomed to getting from Zach Werenski). In Kukan's defense, his attempt to get the puck to Jones is blocked by Fast's foot, and the puck squirts out on the other side of him and Koivu.
Jordan Martinook is able to send the puck to the point, where Brett Pesce gets off a quick shot that finds its way through traffic. While this goal wasn't as egregious as the first two, the point remains that the same pattern presented itself. The Blue Jackets had possession of the puck, until they didn't, and then the other team scored.
With another game against the same Hurricanes later tonight, the pressure will be on for the Blue Jackets to get out of their zone cleanly against a really strong opponent.