Blue Jackets Are Learning, But Losing, As The End of The Season Approaches

By Jacob Nitzberg on April 20, 2021 at 11:10 pm
Apr 20, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) protects the puck from Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Eric Robinson (50) during the third period at BB&T Center.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another loss.

The Blue Jackets fell to 0-6-1 in their last seven games after a 5-1 pasting at the hands of the Panthers tonight in Sunrise. With eight games remaining, and the team squarely out of the playoffs, the goal isn't to win every remaining game. With a lot of young, inexperienced players on the roster, the goal is to learn from every shift.

"We're trying to win games, and we're trying to learn at the same time," said Jack Roslovic, who scored the Blue Jackets' only goal tonight, and had another goal taken away due to offsides. However, the Blue Jackets seem to be struggling in both of those aspects, which is a fact that Roslovic acknowledged.

"It doesn't seem like either of those are really bouncing our way right now," said the Columbus native. "I think we just need to keep on working at it, keep on playing hard and focus on becoming a better group, a more tight-knit group, and starting to lean on each other and learn from it."

Cam Atkinson, who has taken over as de-facto captain in Nick Foligno's absence, registered an assist and two shots on goal in 18:55 of ice time tonight. He noted the Blue Jackets' good effort in the first period, but the second period defined the game tonight, and the Blue Jackets have to be better in that regard.

"I thought we showed it in the first period, even though we were down by a couple goals," said Atkinson. "The (Roslovic) offside goal kind of hurt us. I thought we did some good things in the first, but the floodgates opened in the second and third."

Spencer Knight made his long-awaited NHL debut, stopping 33 of 34 shots he faced for his first NHL win. Yes, the Blue Jackets generated 34 shots on net, but a very small number of them were legitimately dangerous. 

"We knew it was [Knight's] first game, so I don't think we did enough getting pucks to the net and making it hard on him," said Atkinson. "Obviously, I know who he is, just because he went to Boston College and the success he's had, so I'm happy for him, but I wish we made it harder for him."

The Blue Jackets have to play a flawless game to win right now, due to the exodus of talent from their roster from injuries and trades. They were far from that tonight, but the younger players do continue to get experience. Getting regular NHL games under their belt could prove to be quite valuable down the road for players like Kole Sherwood, Josh Dunne, Gavin Bayreuther, and more. 

If they continue to lose, they'll only solidify their shot at a better draft pick. Hopefully, they're able to do some learning along the way.

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