I didn't actually expect a huge turnaround immediately, though it's safe to say that the effort on Thursday was much, much better overall. John Tortorella has his work cut out for him, but we knew that already. What we saw Thursday, though, was a team that didn't look as bad as its record. At least, that's what I saw.
However, the big talk was Ryan Johansen and his treatment in the third period. Whichever side of the fence on which you fall, there's more intrigue as Johansen is apparently ill and no longer with the team today. Shawn Mitchell reported that he fell ill this morning and returned to Columbus today.
So, either he's been fighting something off, which would explain his sluggishness, or he's now in official dog it mode. I'm inclined to believe/hope/pray it's the former.
The Avalanche are an interesting team, as well. They have amazing special teams. They're middle of the pack overall defensively and offensively. But, when you combine all of that, what is shows is that they are a pretty crummy even strength team. On average, they're getting out-shot 30.3 to 24.5 each game. Six of their 16 total goals in six games have come on the Power Play, and they've only allowed two goals while on the PK. That means that, at EV, they're 10 goals for and 15 goals against.
At EV, they're a league-worst 39.2% in Corsi-For. The Jackets are actually seventh in the league at 52.6%.
So, this is the night. It has to be. The Jackets should be able to dominate at EV. They'll need to try to capitalize on any PP chances, and for sure stay out of the box as much as possible. But, if they can play this game at even strength, I think they can win it. If they play like they did Thursday, limit the soft goals, and stay out of the box...
...well, I'm not going to say it. But, if not now, then when?
Columbus Blue Jackets
(0-8-0, 0 Points; 8th division, 16th conference)
|Brandon Saad||Brandon Dubinsky||Nick Foligno|
|Boone Jenner||William Karlsson||Matt Calvert|
|Scott Hartnell||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Rene Bourque||Gregory Campbell||David Clarkson|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Ryan Murray||Cody Goloubef|
|Fedor Tyutin||Dalton Prout|
(2-3-1, 5 Points; 7th Division, 12th Conference)
|Gabriel Landeskog||Nathan MacKinnon||Alex Tanguay|
|Blake Comeau||Matt Duchene||Jarome Iginla|
|John Mitchell||Carl Soderberg||Dennis Everberg|
|Cody McLeod||Mikhail Grigorenko||Jack Skille|
|Francois Beauchemin||Erik Johnson|
|Nikita Zadorov||Nate Guenin|
|Brandon Gormley||Nick Holden|