We gotta be prepared to play in our own building…Gotta treat our fans well…Just gotta be ready to play…That’s what we get paid for..We didn’t come out ready. Not good enough.
That’s some of what Josh Anderson had to say after the Columbus Blue Jackets laid an egg in the first period of Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
Michael Rasmussen scored 66 seconds after the puck drop while on the power play to put the road team up 1-0. It appeared Defenseman Ryan Murray was in good position, but wasn’t able to get his stick on the puck to avoid the pass or shot on goal from right in front. Murray was in a similar situation, when he also was in a good spot near the blue paint, but was unable to poke the puck away when Tyler Bertuzzi scored the game-winning goal to put the Wings up 4-3 with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
The Jackets gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season at the 9:30 mark of the first period, as the speedy and nifty Dylan Larkin put the puck past Joonas Korpisalo on a breakaway. Four minutes later, Columbus gave up a 2-on-1 opportunity to the Wings, with Anthony Mantha burying the biscuit to put Detroit up 3-0.
The Blue Jackets have no excuse for giving up a (shorthanded) breakaway and 2-on-1 chance in the same period. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski are stars in this league, but each could’ve been on their toes a little more to avoid the disastrous outcome of the first period. Jones had this to say regarding the team’s performance through the first 20 minutes of action:
[We] just didn’t show up, didn’t show up in the first [period].
Besides a first period the entire city of Columbus, Ohio would like to forget, there were a couple other things that were a bit disturbing:
One was the fact that Joonas Korpisalo gave up three goals on seven shots before being pulled from the game. While John Tortorella admitted Korpi was pulled not because of his performance, but instead to spark the team–it still was a performance he’d like to forget.
The second, and more disturbing issue, was the special teams struggles from the Jackets, who allowed a power-play goal and gave up a shorthanded goal while going 0-5 on the man advantage. Columbus is now ranked 26th in both power play and penalty kill efficiency. Not good.
However, despite everything that went wrong, the team battled back and can take some major positives from this game as well:
Sergei Bobrovsky looked impressive in relief, saving 23 of 24 shots on goal. Even in a loss, the performance could be a confidence booster for Bob.
Markus Hannikainen assisted on the first two goals of the third period (scored by Josh Anderson and Marcus Nutivaara respectively) to cut the deficit to 3-2. Both assists were rather skillful passes, and were also the first two points of the year for 25-year-old left winger.
Pierre-Luc Dubois seems like he’s starting to getting a bit of a scoring touch added to his game. After backhanding a puck off the crossbar with an oh-so-close opportunity in the third, he more than made up for it with a filthy shot over the shoulder of Goaltender Jimmy Howard to tie the game up 3-3.
Seth Jones noticed Columbus was playing different in the third period:
I just think for us we weren’t thinking…We were just playing hockey honestly…Down 3-0 we had nothing to lose at that point.
In the end, the aforementioned goal from Bertuzzi gave the Red Wings the lead once again, followed up by an empty netter from Larkin in the final minute to seal a 5-3 victory for the road club.
Jones knew the Jackets ran out of gas in the final five minutes, saying:
You saw how much energy it took for us to get back in that game.
Jones has plenty of perspective, adding:
We’d like to play 60 minutes perfect every, every night all 82 games, but it doesn’t work like that…You’re gonna have ups and downs. You gotta find a way to get through it…We have a bad period but we can’t be down 3-0 after the first period and, and give up the chances we gave up.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (6-5-0) will be heavily tested for the remainder of the week, with a three-game road trip on the west coast coming up. Starting with a matchup against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The team will have to find some consistency fast to stay above .500 when next week comes around.