The Columbus Blue Jackets had a chance to win three consecutive games for the first time since their 16-game winning streak earlier this season. Instead they seemingly found a way to not quite get the job done in a 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena.
There was plenty to be happy about from the Blue Jackets’ performance on Sunday evening, but in the end they came out with zero points when the clock struck zero.
So to change things up, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from a 4-3 loss at home in game number 58 of the 2016-17 campaign.
- After going down 2-0 at the 9:38 mark of the second period, the Blue Jackets found a way to get themselves back in the hockey game.
- Sergei Bobrovsky made a pad save (hands down one of the best saves I’ve seen from him in his career) on Craig Smith during a breakaway opportunity at the 10:07 mark of the second period to keep Columbus within striking distance.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets scored three goals in less than 15 on the game clock to knot the game up at 3-3.
- The first goal (10:36 into the second period) was redirected into the net by Brandon Saad after a shot from near the blue line by Seth Jones.
- The second (17:39 into the second period) and third goal (3:41 into the third period) both involved a primary assist from Alexander Wennberg. Oliver Bjorkstrand hesitated with the puck for a moment before whipping it past Juuse Saros to cut the deficit to 3-2. The game-tying goal was scored when a streaking Zack Werenski was the recipient of a well-executed cross-ice pass before beating Saros top shelf.
- Head Coach John Tortorella had some high praise about Werenski after the game:
Some of the stuff he does…That’s not teachable. It’s just in him.
- Tortorella also had some telling words about Bjorkstrand:
He certainly belongs back in our lineup when we come back after this break.
- Torts talked about the team as a whole as well:
I thought we had some good minutes…I thought our transition was good for a lot of the game…We’re heading in the right direction.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets had 19 shots on goal in the first period but failed to score on any of them.
- Nine minutes into the first period the Blue Jackets had a power-play opportunity after a slash by Mike Fisher. It was Cam Atkinson who had the best opportunity to score from near the net but couldn’t get the puck to find it’s way home. Just a few minutes later Atkinson had a golden opportunity to score in the first period essentially on an open net and somehow whiffed on the puck.
- Less than three minutes into the game it was Nashville who struck first. Roman Josi found an open Ryan Ellis who scored on a one-timer to put the Predators up 1-0.
- The third goal of the game for the Predators came at the 15:40 mark of the second period. It appeared Sergei Bobrovsky had his glove over the puck, but it was poked away by James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok got just enough of the puck to have it trickle into the net and give the Preds a 3-1 lead.
- The Predators went up 2-0 with 10:22 remaining in the second period when Wennberg made a bone-headed pass in the defensive zone that went off the stick of Mike Fisher and right to Kevin Fiala, who beat a sprawling Bobrovsky.
- The game-winning goal for Nashville came right after what Torts referred to as “A bad change” at the 9:09 mark of the third period. Josh Anderson didn’t get off the ice quickly and the Jackets were left with four players who weren’t in great position in the defensive zone to say the least. Filip Forsberg simply walked the puck into the offensive zone and veered toward the boards to avoid Sam Gagner. After skating past the net he was easily able to get the puck around defenseman Jack Johnson to a wide-open Mattias Ekholm who beat Bobrovsky top shelf from the slot.
- From what I’ve seen in person, it looks like Jack Johnson’s age is starting to become a bit of a factor. I went to hockey-reference.com and realized I might be on to something. After a plus-minus rating of plus- 21 through his first 39 games this season, Johnson’s statistics have severely went downhill in the same category recently. In his last 19 starts, Johnson has a rating of minus- 12. Johnson hasn’t been making aggressive plays on the puck lately and seems stagnant at times on the ice. It’s not usual for me to assert my opinion into a post, but the five-day rest should be a huge benefit for Johnson, who’s had a rating of minus- 6 in the first six games of the current seven-game home stretch for the CBJ.
The Columbus Blue Jackets won’t be playing again until next Saturday when they’ll host the New York Islanders at Nationwide Arena.