With a Five-Game Skid In Tow, the Blue Jackets Depart for Their First Extended Trip of the Season

By Rob Mixer on November 6, 2019 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones chases down Blake Comeau of the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

There are some sports cliches that never die.

One of them is that a road trip will bring a team together, help it bond, etc. It's said that "getting away" is beneficial with no distractions – those pesky friends and families! – and the players can solely focus on playing. 

That's all well and good, but the Blue Jackets need a lot more than a charter plane and envelopes of per diem money right now. 

Last night at Nationwide Arena provided another painful example of how small their margin for error is this season. They yielded only two goals to a speedy, talented Vegas Golden Knights team and came out on the wrong of the decision – their fifth straight loss, dropping them to 5-7-3 and coming dangerously close to fading out of the conversation before it truly begins.

Boone Jenner scored the lone goal last night for the Blue Jackets. That's good for Boone Jenner, but not so good for the team.

Cam Atkinson's still pushing, but he hasn't scored since his OT winner on Oct. 24 against Carolina. He had five shots on goal last night, tied for most on the Blue Jackets with Oliver Bjorkstrand. Pierre-Luc Dubois had a clean look at Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period but over-handled the puck and took himself out of the chance completely, while the power play gave up a shorthanded goal.

They boast an ugly -17 goal differential through 15 games and are only 3-5-1 at Nationwide Arena. So, with those good thoughts in mind, the Blue Jackets hit the road. 

They'll face a surprising Arizona Coyotes team on Thursday night in Glendale, a team that's finally putting it together and making a run in a Pacific Division that's currently led by the Edmonton Oilers. Yes, that's correct.

Then it's off to Denver to take on the Avalanche, who looked unbeatable for most of October before injuries took their toll. This is still one of the NHL's best teams and the Blue Jackets will be put to the test before heading back east on the weekend. 

After a couple of days off, the trip concludes in Montreal on Tuesday and the Canadiens are another team that's on the fringe of the playoff picture–and they always give the Blue Jackets fits at Bell Centre. 

Can they turn this thing around? Well, the simple math is that they'll need more than one goal to pull themselves out of it, and their power play can't be the liability it's been for the majority of the season. They need more from a lot of people, their top players front and center, but they must have everyone pulling the rope just based on how they're built.