Columbus is rolling heading into Bell MTS Place as they face the Winnipeg Jets. They come in winners of three straight and 2-1-0 away from Nationwide Arena, their only blemish coming at the United Center against the Blackhawks.
#CBJ with eight out of 10 points (4-1-0) in the 1st five games of a campaign for 2nd time in club history (2009-10).— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) October 15, 2017
The Blue Jackets are in the midst of their best start to a season since 2009-10, and yet the team is still not clicking on all cylinders.
One of those areas may be one you would least suspect, as the power play is 1-for-13 out of the gate.
“We're way too cute; we're overpassing,” said assistant coach Brad Larsen. “That's nowhere near the volume of shots we're looking for, and no power play can succeed like that. We've talked about it. I think these guys get it. It's certainly not panic mode five games into the season, but we need to create an identity for ourselves and right now we don't have one. That's going to be the focal point from the start of Winnipeg (on Tuesday).”
I don't think there is much cause for alarm with the slow start on the man-advantage. With a plethora of scoring weapons across all four lines, and for a team that ranked just outside the top 10 a year ago in the category, and led the league for a chunk of the season, it just seems a matter of time.
However, from New Years’ Day through the end of last season, the Jackets were second-to-last in the league on the power play.
The Jets are also coming in winners of three straight. This despite losing LW Mathieu Perreault out 2-4 weeks, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, and center Adam Lowry. Winnipeg is still packed with offensive punch including Nikolaj Ehlers, the NHL's First Star of the Week. He had five goals, two assists in three games last week.
Of course, there’s Patrik Laine (2G, 2 A), Blake Wheeler (5 A), Mark Scheifele (3 G, 2 A) and the big shot by Dustin Byfuglien.
What to Watch Out For
Alexander Wennberg is two assists away from 100 in his young career, Seth Jones is one assist away from 100, and Josh Anderson will suit up for his 100th career NHL game tonight.
It is expected of the Blue Jackets to “shoot the puck!” Over their last 11 opportunities a man up, they have only fired eight shots. Markus Nutivaara will make his season debut tonight replacing Scott Harrington. In three games for Cleveland, Nutivaara is a -2.
Steve Mason gets the goal for Winnipeg. In two starts he is 0-2 and has surrendered 11 goals, culminating in a 6.53 goals-against average and .831 save percentage. Connor Hellebuyck is 3-0, 2.11, .937.
While Columbus has some things to work on, it speaks to their resiliency that they are still 4-1, providing a glimpse of what was expected to enter the season.
|Artemi Panarin||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Matt Calvert||Nick Foligno||Oliver Bjorkstrand|
|Sonny Milano||Brandon Dubinsky||Josh Anderson|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||Lukas Sedlak||Zac Dalpe|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Ryan Murray||Markus Nutivaara|
|Nikolaj Ehlers||Mark Scheifele||Blake Wheeler|
|Kyle Connor||Bryan Little||Patrik Laine|
|Shawn Matthias||Andrew Copp||Brandon Tanev|
|Marko Dano||Nicolas Petan||Joel Armia|
|Josh Morrissey||Jacob Trouba|
|Tobias Enstrom||Dustin Byfuglien|
|Tuker Poolman||Tyler Myers|