When the opposing goaltender is the number one star of the game, that doesn’t bode well for a team’s chances. Ottawa Senators goalie Mike Condon stole the show on Thursday night, stopping all 42 shots on goal to secure the 2-0 victory.
The Columbus Blue Jackets just weren’t sharp Thursday evening in their matchup against the Ottawa Senators. Despite registering 42 shots on goal, numerous scoring chances were missed as shots were blocked or sailed wide of the net. Give Mike Condon credit for keeping the CBJ off the scoreboard, but a little more disciplined play or even an ounce of puck luck and you’d have an entirely different game. Head coach John Tortorella described his team’s energy:
I don’t think we played at the level we need to play at in our building. I don’t think we were awful but I think when you’re in your building, I think we need to be harder, quicker. We just weren’t dead on there.
The Sens struck first at 16:17 in the first period when Kyle Turris received a terrific pass from defenseman Erik Karlsson as the Jackets attempted a line change. Turris got behind the defensemen and beat Sergei Bobrovsky on the breakaway to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. It was Turris’ 17th goal of the year and Karlsson’s 30th assist.
The Senators added another goal at the 16:12 mark in the second period just seconds after an Ottawa power play expired to extend the lead to 2-0.
This loss certainly isn’t on Bobrovsky. He played well throughout the game and made a few spectacular saves to keep the team in it. Unfortunately, the Jackets couldn’t beat Condon. There were shots blocked, posts hit, and flat-out misses all night for the CBJ. The Jackets attempted 81 shots on Thursday and couldn’t light the lamp.
John Tortorella had two big gripes after the game with the way his team played. He thought they did poorly in the second half of the second period and they made it too easy on the opposing goalie. When discussing the need to screen Mike Condon better than they did, Tortorella said,
The first two periods he saw everything. The third period we were better…We ended up with some pressure but we couldn’t score.
Tortorella continued on the third period:
We ended up with 11 or 12 chances in that third period. Couldn’t score. A couple went through…hit a post. One of those nights where in the third period when you’re playing better maybe you crawl back into it…didn’t happen tonight.
What bothered him the most, however, was the team’s play in the second period. Tortorella said:
I don’t want us to be a frustrated team in those situations. We’re gonna have plenty of times to be frustrated. I think in tonight’s game, second half of the second period, that was not the time. We gotta go the other way.
The concerning part for me is you don’t break apart and turn pucks over like we did the [last] 7 or 8 minutes in that second period. You gotta stay together as a team and just fight through it because you’re gonna play good teams and you’re not gonna win all the games, it’s not always gonna go your way. We have to be really careful here, a lot of things have gone our way and now it’s not kind of going our way so this is where you find out…you rely on your structure and you just stay with it and have a little bit of mental toughness here.
The Jackets, who still haven’t won back-to-back games since the streak ended, will be back on the ice Saturday evening to take on the Carolina Hurricanes (again) at Nationwide Arena. Based on John Tortorella’s comments, it will be interesting to see how the team bounces back after Thursday’s game where they played well in spurts but overall lost their identity at a key moment in the game that cost them two points. Stay tuned.