We were playing good. We just made some huge mistakes with turnovers…But other than that we played a good game…We put in a ton of good minutes tonight.
Head Coach John Tortorella saw his team play good hockey for the most part, but also saw a group who gave up costly goals and lost momentum in some quick (and costly) instances.
The Columbus Blue Jackets looked like a better team than the New York Rangers for a large portion of 65 minutes (including overtime). The Rangers were outshot 39-18, outhit 26-22 and out dueled 39-24 in the faceoff department. Despite all the numbers in favor of the home club, the Jackets found a way to lose 5-4 in a shootout.
Torts said “We gave up some early odd-man rushes that caught us” and added:
That’s our biggest weakness now, is the stuff we give up for free.
The Rangers’ first two goals came on odd-man rushes: The first of which started due to a Bjorkstrand turnover and the second came via an ill-advised no-look pass from Cam Atkinson. The second two goals could be described as freebies as well, with Chris Kreider and Jimmy Vesey respectively putting the puck into a gaping net, due to opportune passes from New York and not-so-good defensive spacing from Columbus.
While a new issue (giving up easy goals to the opposition) has come to the forefront for the Jackets, it didn’t come without some very good signs in other areas.
Special teams were a huge plus for the Jackets on Saturday night. Cam Atkinson scored a power-play goal in the first period and Alexander Wennberg added a shorthanded goal in the second period, in what was also his first goal of the season.
Resilience was also on display for the CBJ, with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nick Foligno scoring goals only 32 seconds apart from one another after Columbus found themselves in a 3-1 deficit.
The rowdy crowd at Nationwide Arena was treated to a delightful hockey game, but it was Vesey who ended it with a penalty shot that went off Korpisalo’s glove and into the back of the net to cement the 5-4 victory for the road squad.
Seth Jones led all players with 28:11 of ice time and added three assists to his resume.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, Alexander Wennberg and Anthony Duclair had a combined 25:15 of ice time. Torts chewed them out afterwards for not checking enough and their lack of physicality.
There were plenty of good (and some great) moments for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, but the team could only reel in one of a possible two points. They’ll be back in action on Monday night in Dallas with a matchup against the Stars.