On paper, a 3-1 loss in a season where the Blue Jackets are the second-worst team in the league doesn't look too bad.
That's why games are won and lost on the ice, not on paper. At this point in the season, losing to one of the best teams in the league in the Rangers is fine. But not in the manner in which they lost. For the first two periods, to say the Rangers completely dominated the Blue Jackets would be an understatement. After the first period, chances were 32-7 in favor of the Rangers and 55-22 after two periods in all situations, per naturalstattrick.com.
Yes, they did have a good response in the third period, with a 9-2 edge in high-danger chances and a 15-6 advantage in scoring chances, but it wasn't enough.
"We weren't playing in the first two (periods)," Boone Jenner said after the game. "A lot better in the third. We just didn't show up there in the first two periods."
Jenner is right. It's one thing to lose during what has been a trying season for the Blue Jackets, it's another thing to lose as they did on Monday. There are virtually no positives to take from that game. Kent Johnson played just 10:49, and the Johnny Gaudreau-Jack Roslovic-Patrik Laine line, which was effective against Detroit on Saturday generating 0.784 on-ice xGF, couldn't generate the same production on Monday, generating just 0.023 on-ice xGF.
"I couldn't find a guy I liked tonight," head coach Brad Larsen said.
Losing at this stage of the team's rebuild is to be expected. Losing the way they did on Monday cannot be accepted.