The Blue Jackets played host to the Ottawa Senators last night in the first of two games in four days between the two teams. The Senators came into the game shorthanded and ill; a large number of Ottawa players were feeling the effects of the flu heading into the game. Dalton Prout would draw into the lineup for Scott Harrington, and Zach Werenski (himself a gametime decision with an illness) would end up cracking the lineup. Sergei Bobrovsky, the league leader in wins, would get the start between the pipes.
Ottawa opened with a quick push, generating 3 quick shots on net that Sergei Bobrovsky was able to turn aside with relative ease. The early part of the first period featured a lot of end to end action, but neither team generated a real high danger scoring chance. In positive news, the first line (which Torts has called out repeatedly over the last ten days) looked much better early, generating several shots on Ottawa’s net, including a nice backhand option from Brandon Saad. The Jackets earned a power play at 11:10 as Chris Kelly went to the box for hooking. The Jackets might not have scored, but you cannot ask for more. The first unit had 1:40 of offensive zone time and several high quality chances that Mike Condon was able to turn aside. In the end, Ottawa killed the penalty.
Immediately after, Josh Anderson went off for slashing at 13:49. Anderson was displeased with the call. The Jackets were fierce on the kill though, actively pressuring every Senators pass. The Jackets killed the penalty, allowing just one shot on goal. On a home run pass, Erik Karlsson hit Kyle Turris who wasted no time burying the breakaway behind Bobrovsky at 16:17. Despite owning play for much of the first period, the Senators opened the scoring tonight. The Senators had caught Columbus on a line change - unfortunate, but the Jackets had to respond.
Lukas Sedlak had an excellent chance at the 18:00 mark - Scott Hartnell had picked off a pass and fed Sedlak, but the rookie tipped his shot just wide of the net. Brandon Dubinsky and Erik Karlsson both went off with 90 seconds remaining for dual roughing minors. The Jackets ferociously pressured the Ottawa net for the remainder of the first period, but could not find an equalizer. Despite leading 13-10 in shots, the Jackets trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard.
The second period started much the same as the first - lots of end to end action, but no high danger chances for either side. There were a lot of whistles to open the period, and a delay to fetch the puck which had become stuck in the side of the Ottawa net. Scott Hartnell would go to the box for slashing at 3:26, while Dion Phaneuf would go for cross checking, giving these teams their second round of 4 on 4 hockey for the night. The Jackets maintained the bulk of possession (including great work by Jack Johnson), but could not capitalize.
Sergei Bobrovsky made an outstanding stop following a Ryan Murray turnover. To slow Zack Smith down, Josh Anderson took a hooking penalty at 6:51. Murray has not had a strong night thus far, to say the very least. Cam Atkinson had a dangerous shorthanded chance, but was was turned away by Condon as the penalty expired. The Jackets were simply sloppy with the puck - any controlled offensive zone pressure was generating chances, but they weren’t playing with any consistency.
Nick Foligno was turned aside on an excellent individual effort. Ottawa was playing a “park the bus” effort. Ottawa had blocked 13 shots at the halfway mark of the second period. Condon was playing well, but the Jackets were struggling to generate dangerous chances. At 14:08, Nick Foligno went to the box for high sticking Dion Phaneuf. Cam Atkinson had an excellent short handed chance at 15:00 but couldn’t bury it. Shortly after, Ryan Dzingel made it 2-0 on a deflection from the slot. Bobrovsky was helpless on the goal. Jack Johnson had lost his stick and was helpless to do anything.
Sergei Bobrovsky is the only reason this game wasn’t 6-0 at intermission. The first and second lines were horrible in the second period. Brandon Saad in particular, who has been completely invisible tonight. 2-0 after 40. Columbus would HAVE to get their legs moving in the third period to have a shot at all. Could they do it?
Ottawa opened the third period compleyely in control of the game. They generated the first three shots on goal and generally drove play. At 4:24, Marc Methot turned the puck over leading to an excellent chance for Brandson Saad, but Condon was equal to the chance. Ryan Murray went to the box at 6:21 for hooking to prevent a rush by the Senators. Cam Atkinson was denied on a 2 on 1 shorthanded with Werenski, and Atkinson really should have done better - he was all alone on Condon.
Ryan Murray, it cannot be overstated, had a dreadful night. If Nutivaara is okay to play on the weekend, I’d consider sitting him for a game. But, as bad as he’s been, Sergei Bobrovsky has been that good. He’s made save after save from point blank range.
Around the ten minute mark, the Blue Jackets finally woke up and started forechecking and playing a simple, straight ahead game. Despite excellent possession, however, the Jackets still would not shoot the puck with authority. The third line made some magic happen, but Josh Anderson was unlucky and hit the post with seven minutes to go.
The Jackets drew another penalty with 5:27 to go as Methot went off for holding Foligno. After 59 seconds, Condon threw the puck out of play, giving the Jackets 1:01 of 5 on 3 play. Seth Jones hit the post, but it did not go in. Ottawa killed the 5 on 3, despite several chances.
With 2:43 to go, the Jacket pulled Bobrovsky. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Jackets were turned aside left and right by Condon, who preserved his shutout.
Ottawa Senators 2 Columbus Blue Jackets 0
The effort was inexcusable tonight from every single player except Bobrovsky. There was no urgency until there were about 8 minutes to go. That in unacceptable and needs to be addressed going forward.
Stick taps to Sergei Bobrovsky for his performance tonight. It’s a shame the skaters could not do any better for him.
Ryan Murray was horrible tonight. As I said - when Nutivaara comes back, I am A-ok with benching Murray for Harrington.
I’d be okay never seeing Dalton Prout again, whatever his contract may be. The game has passed him by. He’s slow footed and his hockey sense isn’t where it needs to be. Hopefully the coaching staff and front office can realize this.
I don’t know why Calvert only played 8 minutes tonight. He’s an energy guy and the team needed that tonight.
Zach Werenski played well despite being a gametime decision and generated the bulk of the offense for two periods. He continues to impress this season.
The Jackets are back at it on Saturday. Hopefully they show more effort this weekend than they did tonight.
I’m not going to lie, this game pissed me off. Probably more than any other this season. The Jackets flat out didn’t show up, didn’t move their legs, were bossed around the ice until there were eight minutes or so remaining in the the game. I don’t know what the problem was or what to adjust going forward, but the 5 on 5 play was horrible. Cam Atkinson was terrible for the most part, outside of two shorthanded chances.
I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know if they looked entitled, if they played down to competition, or what, but they didn’t even look like they put forth any effort.
Whatever. Carolina at 5:00 on Saturday. Go Jackets.