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January 2018: Month in Review

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NHL: All Star Game-Skills Competition Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: October, November, December

Ugh, do I have to do this? Yeah, I know I started this last season and it’s a solid recurring feature, but... ok, ok, fine, I’ll do it but I’m not happy about it.

Hi, friends! Welcome to the January Month in Review, which I’m totally stoked to be presenting to you today!!

RESULTS

W 2-1 @ DAL
L 0-2 @ COL
W 3-2 (SO) vs. FLA
W 3-2 (OT) @ TOR
L 1-3 @ BUF
L 2-5 vs. VAN
W 2-1 (SO) vs. DAL
L 3-6 @ VGK
W 2-1 @ARI
L 2-3 (SO) vs. MIN

What a weird month, with only 10 games in 31 days, including one stretch where they played just 3 games in 17 days. Despite missing 4 regulars, the Jackets managed a 5-4-1 record, for 11 points in 10 games. Not great, but treading water at least.

Highlights include a comeback in the final five minutes to send the game to OT in Toronto and a sweep of Dallas. Lowlights include losses to Buffalo and Vancouver before the break and the 3-6 loss to Wild Bill Karlsson and the Vegas Golden Knights.

STANDINGS

The Blue Jackets were in third place in the Metro at the end of December. This poor stretch sent them tumbling all the way down to...fourth in the Metro. They avoided the division completely in January, but have 10 games against those teams in February. It’s a very tight race: Washington leads the pack with 65 points, but just 5 points separate second place Pittsburgh and last place Carolina. Columbus is 1 point behind Pittsburgh with two games in hand. These 7 teams are fighting for 4 playoff spots, as none of the Atlantic also-rans are within 8 points of the Hurricanes.

STATS

January Stats

Stat Jan. Rank Dec. Rank Nov. Rank Oct. Rank
Stat Jan. Rank Dec. Rank Nov. Rank Oct. Rank
Goals For 18 31 40 13 31 21 36 t-13
Goals Allowed 25 23 52 30 27 5 30 t-6
Power Play % 26.1 7 15.7 20 9.4 30 8.6 31
Penalty Kill % 57.1 31 77.1 24 82.8 t-9 84.4 6
5v5 Shooting % 4.1 31 7.3 18 7.5 15 7.7 18
5v5 Save % 96.3 1 90.4 29 94.1 t-3 92.8 t-8
5v5 PDO 100.4 19 97.7 27 101.6 t-6 100.6 16
5v5 Corsi For % 49.75 19 48.6 22 51.54 11 53.75 4

No comment.

THREE STARS

Third Star: NHL Schedule Makers

For giving this team a break while recovering from injuries and just generally playing poorly.

Second Star: Power Play

It’s fixed! Maybe!

But seriously, the right personnel is in place (including the acquisition of Jussi Jokinen) and the scheme has been tweaked, with an emphasis on a consistent net-front premise and more action behind the net.

First Star(s): Seth Jones and Zach Werenski

Jones led the team this month with 10 points. Werenski was tied for fourth with 3 (wait, just 3 points? Seriously? Jesus, the offense was awful this month).

Jones was selected for his second consecutive All Star team, but became ill on the eve of All Star Weekend. Werenski was chosen as his replacement, and deservedly so. Despite playing through an unspecified injury, Werenski has still been excellent this season.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Health

Brandon Dubinsky missed all but the final game of the month. Cam Atkinson missed all but the final two games. Alexander Wennberg missed the first four. Ryan Murray remains out, with no return date in sight. Sonny Milano got injured against Toronto.

Penalty Kill

So do we have to call for Brad Shaw’s firing now? Cause, yeesh, the PK has been really, really bad. Hopefully the return of Dubi, Cam, and Wenns helps. Those guys were the first, third, and sixth most used forwards (respectively) on the PK last year.

Offense

1.8 goals per game, and a 49.75% CF. They need to get back to controlling possession like they did in the first two months, and hope that the shooting percentage FINALLY comes around (in the bottom half of the league each month except November). This team can’t rely exclusively on the goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky (.932 SV%, 2.30 GAA in 9 starts) and Joonas Korpisalo (.972 SV%, 0.92 GAA in one start).