Welcome to “Three things”, your recap-like-substance for Columbus Blue Jackets games. No one wants to read “this happened, then this happened” boring recaps, so instead of doing that, we’ll look at three important things from the night’s action and talk about those.
This is the weekend edition, so we’ll cover Friday night’s win over Calgary and Saturday’s loss to Ottawa.
Despite a 3-2-0 record through their first five, the Jackets have made a habit out of starting games off the wrong way. They couldn’t overcome a two-goal deficit against the Dallas Stars and they likewise couldn’t do the same on Saturday night. Granted, in both scenarios, they came back to tie the game at 2-2, but getting into those holes and getting out of them can take a lot out of a team.
It’s understandable given how shorthanded the team has been, but if they want to do more than stay afloat while the injured heal up, they can’t keep getting themselves into situations like this. Imagine the situation they’d be in if Nick Foligno and Ryan Johansen weren’t hot as fire right now. Speaking of…
Nick Foligno is surprising in the sense that he’s more of a grinder than a scorer. So it’s surprising that he’s tied with Johansen for the team lead in scoring through five games with seven points. He leads in assists with five and has come up in big spots. He’s always been a bit underrated as far as what he brings to the table, but it’s hard to ignore his contributions when he’s lighting up the stat sheet, too.
As for Johansen, I continued to be amazed by his start given the fact that he missed all of camp and the preseason because of his contract squabbles. A sluggish start would have been understandable – he’s still playing himself into game shape – but this is just ridiculous. He’s scored in all five games so far, tied for the team lead in goals with three and is just one assist behind Foligno for the team lead. He’s been good on the power play, too, with three power play points and he’s winning 61% of his faceoffs. He’s been better than anyone could have possibly expected and he’ll be scary as he picks up momentum.
Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney only made it 27 minutes into his season before leaving due to injury, leaving Sergei Bobrovsky to man the nets once again. Bobrovsky has been quite good in this young season, but he obviously can’t start every game.
McElhinney was simply okay in the backup spot as it was, so perhaps his injury can lead to a shakeup in that spot. Maybe the team can find a more dependable option so that they don’t have to lean quite so heavily on Bob. Then again, with Bob playing for a new contract, they’ll probably lean on him heavily anyways, knowing that a contract year is the best way to extract quality play out of someone.
McElhinney will only be gone for a week or so, but this could be the opportunity rookie Anton Forsberg needs to make an impact. Ideally, this will give the Jackets another somewhat dependable netminder to help spell Bob; Oscar Dansk is also available but the team left him in Springfield of the AHL.
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