The Blue Jackets welcomed familiar faces to Nationwide Arena as the New York Rangers came to Columbus Friday night. The Jackets put together a better effort (hey, look at those shots!) but another loss on the scoreboard has soured 2015 already as the team has lost all of the momentum from December.
The first period was much better than what we have seen from the team recently. There were even some good scoring chances early on and they were dominating the shot chart until a Josh Anderson penalty. The Rangers piled up seven shots on the ensuing power play but could not solve Bobrovsky. The CBJ got a power play of their own but could not find the back of the net. The Jackets led the Rangers 14-13 in shots at the end of one but the game was scoreless.
The Rangers came out in the 2nd period on the attack. They were able to capitalize at 5:59 as Marc Staal sent home a rebound after Bobrovsky initially made the save on Derek Stepan. The Jackets were not happy as Matt Calvert had his stick slashed out of his hands moments earlier and was left to try defend without all of his equipment. No call was made.
New York capitalized minutes later as Chris Kreider took a long outlet pass from Stepan and got behind the Blue Jackets defense. He went to his backhand and tucked the puck past Bob at the far post. It was 2-0 Rangers at the midpoint and it looked like the wheels may fall off.
To their credit, the Jackets fought back and showed some life. They finally capitalized minutes into the 3rd period as Scott Hartnell took a long pass from Ryan Johansen and skated into the Rangers zone. Hartnell then roofed one past Lundvist to the far corner on the rush to make to it 2-1 Jackets. Johansen (twelve-game point streak) and Bobrovsky picked up the assists.
The 3rd period looked like a reverse script of what we have seen recently. The Jackets piled up shots (Lundqvist made 35 saves on the night) and the Rangers only got the puck on Bob twice in the final 20 minutes. But Columbus would not light the lamp and New York held on for the 2-1 victory.
Not much to say. This team is going backwards, despite the better effort against New York. The losing streak sits at four games and all of the progress from December is now gone. The team sits an astounding 15 points out of the playoffs.
There were some good things - a better effort offensively with sustained pressure and shots. Ryan Johansen has a franchise and career record twelve-game point streak. That is the longest in the NHL this season. He also joins Patrick Kane as the only players to have two separate ten-game plus point streaks in the same season over the last five years.
Josh Anderson had a nice debut, penalty aside. Alexander Wennberg played much better, winning 10 of 14 faceoffs and playing in all situations.
There's still 40 games to go, but...wow. As I said, that run in December basically means nothing now. Fifteen points from the playoffs, and if you want to look at the other direction - just ten points from 30th place.
Sure, the effort was better but there's no extra room for "good effort, but it was a loss" games. Sigh. When do the All-Star festivities start?