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Game #69 Recap: Not nice

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Looking to build momentum, the Blue Jackets did anything but

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Not much to say about this one. The Columbus Blue Jackets delivered a solid effort, but did not play a perfect game. The New York Islanders scored early and sat on their lead through excellent defensive structure and a brick wall performance from Thomas Greiss.

The Goals

An icing penalty during a line change early in the first period left Lukas Sedlak on the ice with Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. After the faceoff, Duchene recovered the puck behind the net but the Islanders’ forecheck forced him to get rid of the puck quickly. He flipped it behind himself around the boards, but Sedlak was beaten to the puck by Adam Pelech. Pelech passed to Cal Clutterbuck for the shot, and Ryan Pulock buried a wide open shot off the rebound.

With under two minutes left in the game and the Islanders clinging to a one goal lead, the puck was cleared by the Islanders while defending an extra skater. Zach Werenski retrieved the puck and passed it behind the goal and around the boards. Artemi Panarin was waiting at the center line for it, but waited for the puck to come to him and it was easily intercepted by Anders Lee. Panarin barely battled for it. Pierre-Luc Dubois did slightly better, but still could not stop the puck from getting to Valtteri Filppula. Filppula skated in and passed back to Anders Lee on the back side of the goal, who scored past a kneeling Werenski. Despite his history of taking pucks to the face, I think I would have preferred seeing Werenski lay out on the ice to block that one.

Goalies

Sergei Bobrovsky was good. For the third straight start, he allowed just one goal.

Unfortunately, Thomas Greiss was better. He’s been having an incredible season so far (2.33 GAA and .924 SV%) and that continued tonight. For his second straight appearance against Columbus, he recorded a shutout. This time he saved 31 shots on goal. The strong defensive structure of the Islanders helped (Barry Trotz should win the Jack Adams Trophy, clearly) but Greiss made a number of saves on high danger chances.

Missed Opportunity

What also helped the Islanders? The Jackets had trouble hitting the broad side of a barn, let alone the net. In all situations, they won the Corsi battle 62-33, which includes a 23-8 domination in the third period. But 16 of those shots were blocked, and FIFTEEN of those unblocked shots either hit the post or missed the net entirely. Feels a lot like Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh in that regard.

Per Money Puck, the expected score should have been 2.44 - 1.9 in favor of Columbus.

This team simply has to find a way to score more. Or at all! This is the third shutout in the last six games.

The Lines

Torts kept the forward lines stable in the two games against Pittsburgh. An illness sidelined Boone Jenner, which necessitated a return to blending. The starting lines were:

Panarin/Dubois/Atkinson
Dzingel/Duchene/BJORKSTRAND
Foligno/Dubinsky/Anderson
Robinson/Wennberg/Sedlak

Late in the first, the lines shuffled and stayed more or less constant for the remainder:

Panarin/Dubois/Atkinson
Dzingel/Duchene/Anderson
Foligno/Wennberg/BJORKSTRAND
Robinson/Dubinsky/Sedlak

Those top two lines in particular got a lot of minutes late in the game. Dzingel finally played more than 13 minutes! (17:37)

What’s next?

The Jackets fly home to face the Bruins on Tuesday night. Boston’s 19 game point streak came to a close on Sunday night in Pittsburgh.