Film Session: Little Details Provide Costly In Columbus Blue Jackets Loss To Winnipeg Jets

By Dan Dukart on March 18, 2024 at 10:15 am
Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers carries the puck in front of Brendan Gaunce
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets were outclassed in all phases of the game against a Winnipeg Jets team that looks ready for the postseason. 

The difference between winning and losing often comes down to a few minute plays, but yesterday's game was not that. The Jets consistently made the Blue Jackets pay for their sloppy breakdowns, and when the Blue Jackets did have chances, the Jets rebuttal was simple: a Vezina Trophy-contending goalie named Connor Hellebuyck.

Here's a smattering of what went wrong:

On the first goal of the game, Boone Jenner applies pressure to Mark Scheifele, leaving defensemen Zach Werenski and Jake Bean to sort out the Jets two other forwards (while the Blue Jackets wingers are locked onto the high zone/Jets defenders). Both defensemen attach to Alex Iafollo at the net front, leaving Kyle Connor, the Jets leading scorer, wide open in the slot. Whoops!

The second goal had less to do with a breakdown - though there was one - than the Jets simply outworking the Blue Jackets. In the first four seconds of this video, four Blue Jackets players are a day late and a dollar short. Poor Johnny Gaudreau, the weakside winger, looks like he's the one who should be covering Nik Ehlers based on the lack of coverage. It was not his responsibility, but it became his problem. But too late.

The third goal again shows the Jets prowess and the Blue Jackets failings. Give the Jets credit, this is a beautiful transition passing play. But the Blue Jackets do a few things wrong. The first callout is that, at the time of the Tyler Toffoli shot/goal, watch where Erik Gudbranson and Jake Christiansen are standing. Who, exactly, are they covering? Backed up and in the corner of the zone, they're more hoping than playing defense. On the backcheck, Alexandre Texier and Cole Sillinger both get beat by a slick pass by Ehlers. Tip your cap to a great pass by Ehlers, but one pass shouldn't land a team that has five players back in the zone in checkmate.

Goals four-six were more of the same. The fourth goal resulted off a failed breakout pass from Zach Werenski to Trey Fix-Wolansky. Werenski anticipated that his winger would be on the wall - he was not. Logan Stanley laid into a slapshot for his first goal of the season. Goal five was the Jets again just being first to pucks in the offensive zone, keeping the Blue Jackets on their heels. Goal six came off a completely irresponsible cross-ice pass by Damon Severson, that was intercepted by Toffoli, who went in on a breakaway and scored with ease. 

Ultimately, a 6-1 loss felt about right given where these two teams are in their respective season. The Jets added reinforcements to their lineup - Toffoli and Sean Monahan, a savvy two-way center that brings playoff elements. They are big, hungry, creative, and defensively sound. The Blue Jackets rostered an AHL-heavy lineup that lacks firepower, cohesion, and talent. The Jets have the better goalie, the better forward group, and the better defensive unit. 

View 10 Comments