The Columbus Blue Jackets lost by a final score of 3-1 on the road to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night—making it six consecutive games for the Jackets without scoring more than two goals in regulation.
The last thing CBJ Head Coach John Tortorella had to say to the media after his team’s loss was this:
I’m not gonna get into a long dissertation about getting guys to the inside.
Now to how we got to that point…
At the 11:41 mark of the first period the home team struck first, as Benoit Pouliot was able to get near the blue and put a rebound into the back of the net to give Buffalo a 1-0 advantage.
I don’t think we started too well…Our first period was kinda slow.
That’s what CBJ Defenseman Zach Werenski had to say about Columbus’ performance through the first 20 minutes of action.
Fast forward to the third period…
The CBJ got a bad break at the 7:18 mark of the third period. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky exited the net to retrieve a puck along the boards, but it took an unexpected bounce and was tapped home by Kyle Okposo (who was surprised as everyone else to find himself all alone in front of the net with such an easy conversion) to extend the Buffalo lead to 2-0.
Down the stretch it appeared that there were possible shades of Toronto, as the Jackets came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to win in overtime against the Maple Leafs just three nights previous to their matchup with Buffalo.
Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal with a backhanded shot past Goaltender Linus Ullmark on an unbelievable individual effort to make the score 2-1 with 6:15 remaining in regulation.
Torts admitted he was hopeful when Panarin cut the deficit in half:
I thought we were gonna tie it up.
That wasn’t the case.
To rub a little salt on the wound Jack Eichel scored his 18th goal of the season into an empty net with less than ten seconds left to make it a 3-1 final.
Zach Werenski addressed what he thought the problem was regarding the lack of scoring (even with 45 shots on goal):
I just don’t think we do…a good enough job getting to the inside.
Werenski said doing so would help the goalscoring for the team via more “Rebounds and tips and screens” then added:
Goalies are so good in this league…they’re gonna stop it (the puck) if they see it.
Torts elaborated for a bit on the offense of his team and what he saw:
It’s just not enough rebounds…We hit a couple of posts, a crossbar—but we’re not on the inside enough…Their goalie played very well…I think for us to beat him, a big athletic goalie like that, we need to get some rebounds.
For what it’s worth-although the Jackets didn’t get the result they wanted, they did get to welcome back Center Alexander Wennberg into the lineup. Columbus will be back on home ice tonight for a matchup against the Vancouver Canucks.