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March 2021 Month in Review

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We’re going streaking!

NHL: MAR 11 Panthers at Blue Jackets Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Previously: January, February

RESULTS

W 4-1 vs. DET
W 3-2 @ DAL
L 0-5 @ DAL
L 2-4 vs. FLA
L 4-5 (OT) vs. FLA
W 4-3 (OT) vs. DAL
L 1-2 (SO) vs. DAL
W 3-2 (OT) @ CAR
W 3-2 (SO) @ CAR
L 0-3 vs. CAR
L 3-4 (OT) vs. CAR
L 1-3 @ DET
L 1-4 @ DET
W 3-1 vs. TBL

The Columbus Blue Jackets entered the month having lost five straight, and seven of the last eight. They appeared to have righted the ship with wins over Detroit and Dallas, and then a five game point streak. Naturally, the roller coaster season rolled on with a four game losing streak. Finally, they ended the month on a high note with an unlikely regulation win in Tampa. Who says this team is boring to watch?

STANDINGS

Despite the win on Tuesday night, division foes Nashville and Chicago also won on Tuesday, thus maintaining a three point lead over Columbus for fourth place in the Central. Dallas lurks in the picture as well with four games in hand, but their points percentage is one thousandth behind Columbus. Those four are battling for one playoff spot, since Tampa, Florida, and Carolina have all but sealed theirs, with a healthy ten point gap over the rest of the field.

MARCH STATS

2021 CBJ Stats through March

Stat January February March
Stat January February March
5v5 CF% 46.24 (29th) 45.1 (30th) 46.4 (26th)
5v5 FF% 46.41 (27th) 46.3 (28th) 47.2 (24th)
5v5 Save % 93.33 (9th) 90.4 (26th) 92.0 (15th)
5v5 Shooting % 7.98 (16th) 8.2 (15th) 6.8 (25th)
5v5 xGF% 45.21 (27th) 45.57 (29th) 46.04 (25th)
Goals For/60 2.44 (26th) 2.92 (13th) 2.21 (29th)
Goals Allowed/60 2.67 (13th) 3.69 (29th) 2.86 (19th)
PP% 12.5 (23rd) 21.9 (12th) 10.3 (28th)
PK% 85.0 (6th) 63.3 (30th) 81.3 (15th)

Improved numbers from February! But still pretty underwhelming. It looks like a renewed focus on defense has had some positive impact, but it has come at the expense of offense.

THREE STARS

Third Star: Jack Roslovic and Cam Atkinson

These two are lumped together since their best play has come together. In addition, both have had a similar month, featuring cold stretches in between big games. Cam was second on the team in goals with four for the month of March, while Roslovic was third in points with nine. Each scored on the power play, and Cam added a shorthanded goal as well.

Second Star: Zach Werenski

He missed time in February with injury, but Z came back as good as new. He was second on the team in points with 10 in March. He scored a huge rebound goal in waning seconds of overtime to beat Dallas. He’s also one of the few regular skaters with positive possession numbers: 53.05% share of shot attempts and 54.64% share of unblocked shot attempts. He also leads the team in on-ice shot attempts and unblocked shot attempts for for the month.

First Star: Oliver BJORKSTRAND

The Maestro has been steady all season, with production no matter how many minutes he gets or which linemates he plays with. He scored eight points in 10 games in January, eight points in 13 games in February, and now in March he’s been a point per game player with seven goals and seven assists in 14 games.

3.6 ROENTGEN: Not great, not terrible

Max Domi

We called out Domi in the previous two editions of this feature, so it’s only fair to point out that he has improved. I wrote about it here last week. For March, he is third on the team in expected goals per 60 minutes at 5v5, behind just Roslovic and Atkinson. He’s among the best on the team in on-ice shot attempts for as well. His defense is still a work in progress, but at least he’s producing on one end of the ice. He’s passing the eye test, as well, with hustle and aggression on most shifts.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

David Savard

His 5v5 goal ratio is an abysmal 21.05%. The goalies are saving just 88.81% of shots at 5v5 when Savard is on the ice. There’s some bad luck there, perhaps, but his expected goal rate is just 41.46%. Despite this, he’s the third most used defenseman on the team. His play is screaming for him to get more sheltered minutes and/or to be traded.

Patrik Laine

Laine scored a single goal in the month, sandwiched by a seven game goal drought before, and a still-active nine game goal drought after. The worst part is he’s not just shooting poorly; he’s barely shooting! In March, 16 Blue Jacket skaters are on ice for more 5v5 shot attempts per 60 minutes than Laine. 18 have more individual shot attempts than Laine.

It has been a looming question since he was acquired: would he sign here long term? Now the question might be, would the Blue Jackets be wise to invest in him if he’s playing like this?