Out of the last four games, including tonight, it was our best game.
That’s some of what John Tortorella had to say after a 4-2 loss on home ice to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Team Captain Nick Foligno echoed those comments:
We did so many good things in the game tonight.
Despite a well-played hockey game from the CBJ in front of their home crowd, it was the skill and energy that gave the Leafs an ultimate edge on Friday night.
John Tavares had the jaw-dropping shot of the night at the 18:04 mark of the first period, firing the puck over the left shoulder of Sergei Bobrovsky and right underneath the crossbar to give the road team a 2-1 advantage.
Auston Matthews sped right past Pierre-Luc Dubois in transition and fed the puck across the ice to Mitch Marner, who fired the puck into the bottom-left corner of the net to put Toronto up 3-1 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the second period.
Columbus never got the deficit under two goals for the remainder of the game.
While the talent was noticeable for the Leafs, with some breathtaking finishes–there also was the element of rest for the visitors that likely helped them end Columbus’ five-game winning streak.
Foligno talked about Toronto taking advantage of the Jackets on the back end of a back-to-back after defeating the Rangers saying:
They fed off the energy they had.
The playmakers for the Leafs were successful on Friday, but it didn’t deter Foligno from believing the Jackets played the right way, and, perhaps hinting that Columbus knows how to defeat the second-highest scoring team in the league:
Once we got underneath the hash marks on that team, man we gave em’ fits…They didn’t have much…They do not like defending down there at all.
Torts had a similar ideology with what some of his remarks:
I think we would’ve generated more offense…if we hit the net…just looking for rebounds, whatever it may be.
So much for woulda coulda shoulda. Toronto finished their chances when they needed to while the Jackets couldn’t quite bury the biscuit enough in another premier matchup. Something that has snakebitten the franchise plenty of times before.
Columbus has the roster and the coach to be a special club, but until they’re more consistent offensively in big games it’s not fair to put this team in the elite category for the 2018-19 season.
Goaltender Garret Sparks cooled off a hot Jackets team. Maybe the new year is just what Columbus needs to find an offensive spark again.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will be back in action at Nationwide Arena on New Year’s Eve. They’ll host the Ottawa Senators.