When there’s a best-of-seven series, the odds of having a bad game in the mix aren’t too shabby. The Columbus Blue Jackets can check the had-a-bad-game box of the list after a disappointing performance in a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 4.
The CBJ seemed like they never got into any sort of rhythm after the puck dropped on Thursday night. After the game, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic asked Head Coach John Tortorella if he thought his team appeared to have any nerves during the game. Torts’ response was a good one:
We looked nervous, right on through—I don’t know why.
Through two periods the Caps were up 2-0, thanks to a goal from Tom Wilson in the first period and a T.J. Oshie power-play goal in the second period.
The offense of the Jackets seemed to never wake up for the first 40 minutes, only amassing 15 shots on goal in that span. Here’s some of what Torts had to say afterwards:
We had problems making plays period…It was just a struggle…That’s called a good old-fashioned laying an egg…Right on through our lineup.
Later he added:
We were like robots tonight…It’s very unlike us…We’ll bounce back.
In the third period the game still seemed salvageable, with the CBJ only trailing 2-0, but an Alex Ovechkin goal put the road team up 3-0 at the 2:49 mark and felt like a dagger at the time.
Boone Jenner had the lone goal of the evening for Columbus, redirecting a shot from Josh Anderson past Braden Holtby to make it a 3-1 hockey game with 13:38 remaining in regulation.
After the Jenner goal, the Jackets couldn’t seem to find a spark at all. Evgeny Kuznetsov sent most of the fans home and sealed the deal with an empty-net goal at the 17:41 mark of the 3rd period.
Torts understands the importance of his players remaining confident the rest of the way, despite the embarrassing performance in front of over 19,000 fans on Thursday:
I just don’t want em’ to go down the road of tying themselves up even more. They’re good players. We’re a really good team…We just need to move by this as quickly as possible and play a game.
After all that’s happened, Torts still knows the exact position his team’s in:
We are not down in the damn series (Currently tied 2-2).
It was apparent Tortorella was getting sick of having to have to reword what was a lackluster performance from his team in his post-game presser:
We weren’t good…There’s no sense of asking me things about the game. I’m telling you we laid an egg, so, I’m not gonna break it down for ya. We sucked (then the coach made a shoulder shrug before speaking again). We sucked. So let’s move by it and see if we play better Saturday afternoon.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals are all tied up at two games apiece. Up next, it’s back to the nation’s capital for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM ET.
Torts and his club know they didn’t get the job done, but his comments near the end should make CBJ fans feel a little more comfortable (if that’s possible) going into Saturday:
It’s on us. We have to figure it out. And we will.