The Columbus Blue Jackets, fresh off of blowing their weekend clear to hell with home demolitions at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets, traveled to Newark to take on the AHL lineup of the New Jersey Devils.
9 of the 12 forwards in the Devils’ projected lineup tonight have scored 4 goals or less this season. https://t.co/K0zkXLQ0oK— Steve Cangialosi (@CangyManMSG) March 5, 2019
If ever there was a night for Columbus to impose its will on the game and take two points with authority, this was the game. And, for one solid minute of the game, Columbus did that, as Cam Atkinson scored his career best 36th goal of the season in the opening moments of the game.
Missing the net can be a good thing sometimes. pic.twitter.com/Fo0g2MmTUc— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 6, 2019
After that, Columbus killed two penalties and did a whole lot of nothing else. The Jackets posted 45.74% of shot attempts, 38.1% of scoring chances, and 27.27% of high danger chances on the night.
Sergei Bobrovsky, after struggling recently, stole this one.
According to @EvolvingHockey, Sergei Bobrovsky’s final unblocked shot save % was 4.57% higher than expected based on what he faced.— Alison (@AlisonL) March 6, 2019
He saved 2.15 goals against *more* than average.
More in tonight’s ‘Analytically Speaking’ notes.#CBJ
In the shootout, goals from Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin won the game as Bob saved both attempts he saw.
Columbus Blue Jackets 2 New Jersey Devils 1 (SO)
I mean ... what’s to discuss at this point?
Columbus came out unprepared and unwilling to skate, again. They won, not through their own play, but because an AHL lineup with no goal scorers couldn’t bury the majority of the game’s chances. Sergei Bobrovsky played quite well on the chances he saw, including an absurdly great save in overtime to preserve the second point. Without steady play in net, Columbus’ season would be over tonight. It nearly was - a loss to a cellar dweller at this point of the season is catastrophic to any hopes this team currently clings to.
The Blue Jackets have two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins this week, and the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes next week. If they cannot figure out how to play with fire and passion and a willingness to skate to the puck and make tough plays in the defensive zone, this team’s season will be over by next Saturday night.
They have 36 hours to get an answer, or another effort like tonight will mean that Pittsburgh will be able to name the final score on Thursday night. Let’s see if they have it in them.