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November 2019 Month in Review

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NHL: St. Louis Blues at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: October

RESULTS

L 3-4 (OT) at STL
L 0-3 vs. CGY
L 1-2 vs. VGK
W 3-2 at ARI
L 2-4 at COL
L 2-3 (SO) at MTL
W 3-2 (OT) vs. STL
W 5-2 vs. MTL
W 5-4 vs. DET
L 3-4 at WPG
W 1-0 vs. OTT
L 2-3 vs. PHI
W 5-2 vs. PIT
L 0-2 at NYI

6-6-2. Same pace as the 5-5-2 record from October. Same inconsistency. Thankfully we found more regulation wins, with five this time. Some were even by more than one goal! How much fun was that win over the Penguins? There are 14 more games in December, including seven against Metro opponents.

STANDINGS

The Blue Jackets have dropped from fifth place at the end of October to seventh place at the end of November. Treading water isn’t enough to keep up with the red hot teams at the top of the division, such as the Capitals and Islanders. The Jackets are six points out of the second wild card in the East, but there are four teams between them and the current holder of that position, Pittsburgh. The good news? We’ve beaten Buffalo and Montreal (once), we’ve still got four games left against the Rangers, and Tampa Bay is obviously a pushover, right?

STATS

November 2019 stats

. October November
. October November
Goals For/60 2.55 (26th) 2.47 (25th)
Goals Allowed/60 3.54 (27th) 2.55 (10th)
Power Play % 13.2 (25th) 26.7 (5th)
Penalty Kill % 75.7 (24th) 86.8 (4th)
5v5 Shooting % 7.14 (24th) 5.95 (27th)
5v5 Save % 91.61 (18th) 92.05 (17th)
5v5 Corsi For % 49.49 (17th) 50.16 (14th)
5v5 Fenwick For % 50.70 (13th) 54.52 (7th)
5v5 xG% 51.54 (9th) 55.36 (2nd)

Special teams were great! Defense was good. Goaltending was average. Offense was...woooof. That shooting percentage has to go up at some point, right?

Stats courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick

THREE STARS

Third Star: The rookies

After a rough first month, Emil Bemstrom finally got his first NHL goal, against Arizona. Then he scored one in the next game, as well. Both on the power play! He added another goal and four assists for seven points on the month. He looks more and more comfortable with each game. We still haven’t seen that booming one-timer yet, however.

Eric Robinson was called up from Cleveland during Nick Foligno’s suspension. In his first game of the season, he scored a goal. This was his first NHL point, after nothing in his previous 14 games over the prior two seasons. He earned a spot in the lineup even after Foligno’s return, though he was scratched for the last two games. Hopefully he will continue to get chances and continue to make the most of them.

Vladislav Gavrikov also got his first NHL goal, though the more important part of his game is his defense. He was the third best defenseman of the month in terms of shots allowed per 60 minutes (at even strength).

Second Star: Special Teams

As we saw above, both special teams units were top five in the league in November. The penalty kill allowed a goal in just four of the 13 games in which they had an attempt. The power play scored in eight of the 14 games this month. There was improvement even before the hiring of new assistant coach Paul MacLean. The highlight of the month was consecutive games against Detroit and Winnipeg where the PP scored five goals on ten attempts.

First Star: Oliver BJORKSTRAND

The Maestro conducted himself with aplomb, leading the team in assists (9) and points (13), and his four goals trailed Gus Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois (five each). Late in the month, BJORKSTRAND had a six game point streak, featuring two goals and seven assists. He has had a revolving door of linemates, but the combination of Nyquist on the opposite wing and Boone Jenner in the middle seems to have some promise.

3.6 ROENTGEN: Not great, not terrible

Nick Foligno

The Captain was suspended for three games for a high hit on Colorado’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. It was a well-deserved penalty for an unnecessary hit. The Blue Jackets earned five points out of a possible six in the three games he missed. Would the team be better off without him? He’s been a frequent whipping boy among Jackets fans online. HOWEVA, his numbers are pretty solid. He had three goals and three assists in November, including one of each on the power play. He was second on the team in November in 5v5 CF%. And yet, despite complaints about him being overused, he was only the eighth-most played forward at 5v5. He’s overpaid, sure, but he’s useful in his role.

Joonas Korpisalo

Korpi’s 6-4-0 record doesn’t stand out, but his 2.31 goals against average in November was 12th among goalies with at least four starts. His .919 save percentage was 19th. He earned his first shutout of the season against Ottawa in a 1-0 game and most nights he is doing enough to keep his team in the game.

Elvis Merzlikins’ numbers are less impressive (0-2-2, 3.00 GAA, .897 SV%) but he’s not getting run out of the building, either.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

You want to know what’s holding the team back? It’s these two guys:

Cam Atkinson

The overall numbers don’t look so bad: tied for fifth on the team with eight points (one goal, seven assists) on the month. Five points on the power play (one goal, four assists). And yet, the calendar has rolled over to December and he has not yet scored a goal at 5v5. His one even strength goal was an overtime winner in October where he tapped in a pass from Dubois. This is simply not enough from a guy who has scored over 30 goals in two of the previous three seasons. He has scored over 20 goals in every full season of his career outside of his rookie season but he’s on pace for less than that this time.

Josh Anderson

Big Josh had the excuse in October of missing some games due to injury. In November he played all 14 games and scored just one point, an assist. He has only one goal and two assists for the entire season. The silver lining is that he’s still shooting the puck. Among the forwards that played all 14 games, he has the most shots/60 (10.06), shot attempts/60 (16.77), and unblocked shot attempts/60 (13.42) at 5v5. His expected goal number doesn’t rank as high, which suggests that his shots aren’t as high quality as they need to be.

We knew the offense would take a dip without Artemi Panarin. We did not expect that we would have to compensate from Atkinson and Anderson drying up. It’s a shame, because the team defense is strong enough, that just an average offense would add enough standings points to be in the thick of the playoff race.

Poll

Which of these players will have the best December?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Cam Atkinson
    (13 votes)
  • 23%
    Josh Anderson
    (15 votes)
  • 12%
    Nick Foligno
    (8 votes)
  • 42%
    Joonas Korpisalo
    (27 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now