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February: Month in Review

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There’s no place like home

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: October; November; December; January

RESULTS

L(OT) 3-4 @ PIT
L 1-5 vs. NJD
W (OT) 3-2 @ DET
L 0-3 vs. VAN
W 2-1 vs. DET
L 2-3 vs. NYR
W 5-2 vs. TOR
W(OT) 2-1 vs. PIT
L 3-4 vs. NAS
W 7-0 vs. NYI
W 5-2 @ NYR
L(OT) 0-1 @ MTL

After a 7-7 January, the Blue Jacket went 6-4-2 for 14 points in February. A much-anticipated 7 game home stand only produced a 4-3 record, but after a lifeless 0-3 loss to Vancouver, the team has responded with a series of consistently strong efforts. Coming off of the bye week, Coach John Tortorella called that weekend against the Islanders and Rangers as the best 6 period stretch the team has played all season.

STANDINGS

At the start of the month, Columbus was in second place in the Metro, 2 points behind Washington. They fell into the first wild card spot during their bye week, but quickly lept back ahead of the Penguins and Rangers. They are in second place in the Metro but now a full 7 points behind the red hot Capitals. They are 4th in the league, behind Washington, Minnesota, and Chicago.

STATS

Monthly Stats

Category February January December November October
Category February January December November October
Goals 33 (17th) 43 (t-7th) 54 (2nd) 49 (2nd) 18 (28th)
Goals Allowed 28 (t-7th) 45 (t-25th) 25 (2nd) 30 (7th) 17 (t-3rd)
Power Play % 7.7 (29th) 17.5 (19th) 27.1 (4th) 25.0 (1st) 33.33 (2nd)
Penalty Kill % 76.0 (23rd) 89.5 (2nd) 77.8 (20th) 81.3 (21st) 86.96 (7th)
5v5 Shooting % 7.6(19th) 8.7 (t-13th) 11.0 (1st) 9.3 (6th) 9.2 (15th)
5v5 Save % .933 (t-10th) .892 (29th) .954 (1st) .933 (12th) .940 (2nd)
5v5 PDO 100.9 (12th) 97.9 (23rd) 106.4 (t-1st) 102.6 (6th) 101.8 (7th)
5v5 Corgi 52.73 (5th) 49.52 (t-13th) 50.85 (10th) 50.52 (16th) 47.88 (22nd)

That shooting percentage is baaaaaad. Or just really unlucky? The good news is that over the last 8 games, the shooting percentage is 9.4%, which is 7th in the league over that span.

THREE STARS

Third Star: Joonas Korpisalo

I was very hard on Joonas Korpisalo after his outings in January. Even in team wins he allowed too many goals. I was concerned the team had no confidence in the backup goaltending. I was certain the team would be better served trading for a veteran backup.

I’m happy to say I was wrong. Korpi was 2-0 in February, including his first career NHL shutout, against the Islanders. The team won that game 7-0 but Korpi had some big saves early, before the offensive onslaught began. The team credited his play with boosting their confidence. He got a start with the Cleveland Monsters during the bye week and that appears to have kept him sharp. There are many back-to-backs in March and so he’ll get plenty of regular work. Here’s hoping he continues to play well.

Second Star: BJORKSTRAND

Thanks to a series of injuries to the forward corps, the team was able to recall Oliver Bjorkstrand from Cleveland. He had been sent down after a disappointing start to his season in Columbus. While he got 2 games in December while Nick Foligno was sick, now it appears he is here to stay. He put in the necessary work on his game in Cleveland and he now appears to be the player we were hoping to see in October. He’s getting minutes with the Wennberg line and the second power play unit. He’s demonstrating his natural shooting abilities, but is also doing the little things right away from the puck.

A common observation is that BJORKSTRAND has been like a deadline acquisition, but one that cost nothing to add.

First Star: Boone Jenner

Coming off of a 30 goal season, Boone had been a disappointment for the first half of the season. In the new year, however, he - along with Brandon Dubinsky - has started to regain his old magic. He had a corgi of 55.15% in February. He tallied 3 goals and 4 assists. The Wennberg line carried the team while the Dubinsky line struggled. Then the Wennberg line cooled off a little, but now they are both hot.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Sam Gagner

Gagner’s last goal was on December 23. He has 10 assists in that span, but the team could use the production they got out of him in the first half. He’s also costing himself money on his next contract.

Matt Calvert

Among regular players in February, Calvert had the worst corgi, at just 45.66. He will miss several weeks with an oblique strain and it’s not obvious that he’ll get his spot back when he returns.

Wyld Stallyns

Calvert’s linemates, William Karlsson and Josh Anderson, haven’t been so hot either. Those two each had 5 points in the month, but their corgis were also in the 45% range. Since the line shuffle, they have seen their minutes decline. If this team hopes to roll 4 lines in the playoffs, these guys need to get their mojo back.