While Changes Are Needed, Blue Jackets Have To Play It Smart The Rest Of This Season

By Will Chase on December 18, 2023 at 1:45 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets' Zach Werenski reacts to a missed shot during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Nationwide Arena.
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

What else is there to say?

The Columbus Blue Jackets are circling the drain.

Fresh off escaping with a 6-5 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 14, they were never really in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Daniil Tarasov made his first NHL start of the season and wasn't granted any early favors following an egregious Johnny Gaudreau turnover 47 seconds into the game ending up in the back of the net. The Blue Jackets were within one goal a couple of times but the Devils kept responding as the Jackets were forced to chase all night.

As Columbus nears the Christmas break, they're 10-17-5, three points ahead of the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference basement. Tuesday's opponent for the Jackets is the Buffalo Sabres, a team with lofty expectations and only four points ahead of Columbus in the standings.

The Blue Jackets show promise and potential on nights when you feel optimistic about what the team is building. The Russian line of Kirill Marchenko, Dmitri Voronkov, and Yegor Chinakhov continues to excel since head coach Pascal Vincent put them together.

They were heavily relied upon in Saturday's loss as Marchenko played a season-high 20:52 and Voronkov played a season-high 17:42. Chinakhov played 19:20. He played a season-high 19:21 against the Leafs last Thursday.

On the other end of the spectrum, Adam Fantilli was dropped to the fourth line as the game progressed. Vincent's reasoning?

View 42 Comments