It was a frustrating night for a multitude of reasons for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
From a 2-0 lead turning into a 3-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, to top players disappearing for large stretches of the game, to a frustrating call late in the game that was challenged and technically was offsides (but not really), it was the kind of game that makes one want to check the calendar and see how long until the next game starts.
But until the Blue Jackets hit the ice in Buffalo for a Monday game against the Sabres, this is all we've got to chew on. So, here are three things from Saturday night loss in the desert:
Best At Their Worst
Particularly on the road, top players need to be at their best. That didn't seem to happen in Saturday's loss, and the numbers would support that feeling — especially for a few players who have been reliable thus far this season.
Jake Voracek ended the game with a -0.83 game score per Natural Stat Track, his worst of the season and only third negative score in 15 games played, and had just two shots on goal and five total attempts. In games where Voracek gets off at least four shots, the Blue Jackets are 3-0-0.
Captain Boone Jenner had a tough night, as well. While not as low as Voracek's score, Jenner's -0.09 finish was his third worst of the season. In all, a dozen Blue Jackets finished with a negative game score — a number beat out only by the 15 negative scores in a shutout loss to the New York Rangers on October 29th. Columbus looked lost at times in the second and third period, and these numbers show just how lost they were.
What initially looked like a goofy challenge from head coach Brad Larsen wasn't so silly after all, but because the NHL won't let a bad call be reviewed if enough time goes by, Larsen took the "L" on the challenge.
With the game tied at 2-2 with just over six minutes remaining in regulation, Vegas' Mattias Janmark crossed the line before the puck — the literal definition of offsides. The Golden Knights didn't score there and the puck left the zone, but Vegas would re-enter the zone and score what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
NHL on the offside call: The play immediately before is off-side but the Linesman did not whistle that play dead. Video review cannot go back and review that play; the Situation Room can only rule on the latest entry by Vegas, which was on-side and resulted in a goal. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) November 21, 2021
After the game, Larsen took responsibility for the challenge.
Brad Larsen said postgame that he knows the rule on the initial offside play (which was nullified by the second entry) but challenged because emotion got the best of me and thats on me. #CBJ— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) November 21, 2021
If replay is going to exist to get the calls right, it would seem this may want to be a situation they look at in the offseason.
With his short-handed goal in the first period, Alexandre Texier took sole possession of second place on the team with six goals through 15 games, trailing only Jenner.
And what a goal it was.
NHL Video Highlight - Alexandre Texier toe drags through his legs to beat the final defender before he cuts across the crease and deposits the puck under the blocker. pic.twitter.com/DG26QsOubD— Blue Jackets Game Bot (@CBJGameBot) November 21, 2021
The goal equaled Texier's total during the 2019-20 season, when he played in 36 games. In 49 games last season, the still only 22-year-old had four goals. A majority of his time this season has been played on the bottom six, and wondering how much longer before Larsen moves him up in the lineup is becoming a more valid thought with each passing game.