To say the Columbus Blue Jackets have lacked consistency this season would be a drastic understatement. This team’s performance has been one of the up-and-down variety, like the movements of a needle on a polygraph for a pathological liar.
While Columbus has lacked consistency with their performance, the numbers show they’ve been regularly struggling defensively and in the special-teams category. The Jackets rank 29th in the National Hockey League, with a 3.9 goals against average and are outside the top 25 when it comes to efficiency on both the power play and penalty kill. And don’t start pointing out one goalie being better than the other. Both Joonas Korpisalo and Sergei Bobrovsky have nearly identical save percentages through 11 games this season.
What has been good on a regular basis? The offense. You may be thinking to yourself that the offense was the issue for this team most of last season. If you are, you’re right. While the defense and goaltending have been subpar, the Blue Jackets have been scoring 3.5 goals per game, good for 5th in the NHL.
Meanwhile, the San Jose Sharks are off to a 6-3-3 start, and, on paper, seem to be a club destined for a deep postseason run. While Seth Jones and Zach Werenski are a couple of the better offensive defensemen in the league, the Sharks’ Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are the cream of the crop. Burns and Karlsson are off to hot starts, with the two of them combining for 3 goals and 19 assists through 12 games (cue the fire emoji).
The Blue Jackets have slowly turned themselves into a solid road squad over the last couple of seasons and are 3-1-0 away from Nationwide Arena to start the 2018 campaign. Who knows, maybe for this team there’s no place like the road. For Head Coach John Tortorella to hold a press conference that lasts more than two minutes on Friday morning, (for us functioning on Eastern Standard Time) Columbus may need play up to their high standards in opponents’ arenas. Going on the road could be a magic elixir of sorts for the CBJ–then again, it could expose their weaknesses. We’ll see how it goes. The puck drop is scheduled for 10:30 PM ET.