In the fifth preseason game - and the last of three consecutive gamedays this weekend - the Blue Jackets lost yet again, this time 5-1 to the St. Louis Blues. This follows a 7-3 defeat yesterday at Pittsburgh and a 3-0 loss on Friday to these Blues. The Blue Jackets are 1-4 in this preseason so far, with three games remaining.
Unlike Friday’s game against the Blues, when few CBJ regulars made the trip, today’s lineup featured mostly players who are expected to play this season or who are in competing for the few open spots available. Against a less stacked Blues lineup, you’d expect a reversal of Friday’s outcome. If anything, this loss was worse.
Sergei Bobrovsky treated this like a playoff game. On many of the goals, his defense failed and left the Blues with wide open shots. However, in those one-on-one matchups a goalie of Bob’s caliber should be able to stop more of those shots. On at least three of the goals, Bob was beat on the glove side.
The power play continued to be anemic. Hopefully it’s because they haven’t fully practiced their new systems yet. But the lineup we saw tonight included the top PP unit from last year: Alexander Wennberg in front of the net, Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson on the wings, Nick Foligno in the middle, and Seth Jones at the point. The second unit featured Anthony Duclair in front, Markus Nutivaara at the point, Pierre-Luc Dubois in the middle and Jonathan Davidsson and Oliver BJORKSTRAND on the wings.
For good news: the first line of Panarin/Dubois/Atkinson were responsible for the first goal of the game. Panarin carried the puck into the offensive zone, then passed back to an entering Nutivaara. Nutivaara then passed across and down the ice to “Hott Scarrington” who skated behind the net. Harrington dished to Atkinson next to the net, who jammed the puck through the goalie’s legs.
More roster cuts should be coming this week in advance of the start of Cleveland Monsters camp. I hope that in the final games that we see more regular season lines. For example, today Ryan MacInnis centered Foligno and BJORKSTRAND, but Wennberg should center their line in the regular season. Why didn’t he play between them today?
I don’t get hung up on preseason results (remember how unstoppable the Saad/Johansen/Foligno line looked in the 2015 preseason?) but I want to see much sharper play in the games this week. The next game is on Tuesday in Clinton, NY for the Kraft Hockeyville game. Then they finish with a home game Friday against the Penguins and a road game at the Blackhawks on Saturday.
Time on ice (forwards):
Jonathan Davidsson 18:36
Pierre-Luc Dubois 18:15
Artemi Panarin 17:40
Time on ice (defense):
Seth Jones 23:40
Markus Nutivaara 19:39
Dean Kukan 19:27
Individual Shot Attempts For (all situations):
Seth Jones 4
Markus Nutivaara 4
Jonathan Davidsson 4
Artemi Panarin 4