Well, this wasn’t the start I was hoping for as the Blue Jackets opens the season 0-3 getting beat by a total of 14-5. Going into the season defense was the biggest worry, and that stays true by giving up 107 shots through the first 3 games, and letting up 14 goals.
Now I’m going to stay on the positive side because they are still a young and inexperienced team trying to build chemistry, and find a system that works. The lines have also been switched almost every game trying to find out who works best with who, plus the injury to Patrik Laine doesn’t help as he is expected to miss 4 weeks.
Starting with the first game at Carolina, the Jackets were buzzing around, and played a great first period defensively and offensively getting some good looks and shots on net. Laine opened the second period with a top-ched snipe, and the Jackets first goal of the season. Shortly after Cole Sillinger dances through defenders and scores, but unfortunately, last year’s problem carries over to this season with Sillinger being offsides. They also showed off their physical presence with 26 hits.
Going into the home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the fans of Columbus really showed out having 18,889 people in attendance supporting the Blue Jackets, and had their annual Blue Carpet event.
There were some good things to come out of the home opener with Johnny Gaudreau being the first Blue Jacket of the season to fire off the cannon, and Kent Johnson getting his first point of the season with the assist to Gus Nyquist. Also, the Jackets won 40-16 on the faceoffs, something that they struggled with in Carolina, and kept their physical presence with 22 hits.
There are only a couple positives from the St. Louis game as Johnny Gaudreau records his 400th assist and they won the faceoff duel 31-23.
Another positive going forward is Kirill Marchenko is tearing it up in Cleveland with a 3-1-4 statline in 2 games. Also, Nick Blankenburg will be making his season debut against the Canucks to hopefully improve the defensive numbers.
Like I said in the Carolina game they were buzzing the first period, then when Laine went down it all fell apart, losing the faceoffs 43-32 and letting up 43 shots is not the making for a win, on top of that there were just too many turnovers in the Jackets zone that Carolina took advantage of and put the puck on net. Now Carolina is a cup hopeful and will play the Jackets 2 more times this season they’ve played them well the past couple of years but the Canes just look like a new team.
In the Tampa game, the Blue Jackets had 8 minutes on the power play and failed to record one goal with elite passers in Gaudreau and Voracek this is simply unacceptable, and needs to be fixed. Giving up 39 shots in contrast to 28 just won’t get it done as the Lightning put up 3 goals in the first and 1 in the second and third. If you only put up 28 shots against the best goaltender in the league you are lucky to get 2 goals, as the Jackets put up a pathetic effort dropping the home opener 5-2.
The St. Louis game is just something to forget about, as Elvis Merzlinkins makes his season debut saving 20 shots on 25 attempts and having an 80% save rate. It was a sloppy game overall as the Jackets had 10 giveaways and the Blues recorded 14 takeaways, they also got out-bodied as the Blues recorded 28 hits, and the Jackets had 14. This was a winnable game going into the 3rd, but the lack of leadership and a poor strategy gives CBJ their 3rd loss of the season.
With that being said there needs to be some change whether it’s in the strategy or the personnel because their schedule doesn’t get any easier, and the Johnny Hockey hype can only last so long as fans will start getting frustrated and stop attending the games.
Fans are already calling for Brad Larsen to be fired in only his second season, and I’m not totally convinced he should have a job either, as he proved in the past he can’t run a successful powerplay and it sure is carrying over into this season. These odds were made in September, but let’s see if things changed throughout the season.
With all that being said we’re going to stay positive moving forward and hoping things change in favor of the Blue Jackets, as they host an 0-3 Canucks team who are in the middle of their away stretch and both teams are looking to get a win.