Three Things: Good Starts and Ugly Finishes, Bad Habits, and Another Loss to the Predators

By Rob Mixer on February 28, 2021 at 5:43 pm
Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The beat goes on for the Blue Jackets.

And the beat is not a good one.

Their fifth straight loss came Sunday afternoon in Nashville, 3-1, as the Predators scored three straight goals after Kevin Stenlund opened the scoring in the first period (more on that in a moment). Folks, it's just about over for the Blue Jackets and it's a real shame.

Here are three things from another afternoon matinee at Bridgestone Arena.


The Blue Jackets have scored first 16 times in their 23 games this season, more than any other team in the NHL. They've shown they can dictate early and get on the forecheck, if only for a few minutes. 

What happens after that is...grim.

Columbus has a litany of issues, but one near the top of the list is its inability to sustain or build on a lead. How many times have you seen the Blue Jackets score early, only to be familiarly tied 1-1 or down 2-1 by the time the second period rolls around? And good thing they're so good in the second period, right? It's a combustible recipe and one of the main reasons why this team just can't string anything together.


Sometimes, you can only sit back and ask yourself: is Patrik Laine wearing a cloak?

His frustration after a weak power play on Saturday didn't escape the broadcast cameras, and we saw John Tortorella talking to his superstar before the third period began. It's obvious that Laine is now well-versed in the Blue Jackets' power play struggles, and as one of the only players who can lift them out of those listless ways, it's bizarre that they can't find a way to get him the puck.

The Blue Jackets, given a late second period power play, generated just north of nothing. The only chance was Laine, who uncorked a shot from the left circle that Juuse Saros couldn't handle with traffic on the door step. No one found the rebound, the Predators cleared, and the No. 1 unit left the ice. 


This is crossroads time, friends. The Blue Jackets are not good. They are not cohesive. And they appear to be very frustrated and worse, apathetic at times. 

The time for soul-searching has come and gone. They're firmly out of the playoff picture, which is rather stunning considering they had a favorable draw (or so we thought) in the Central Division. 

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