The Columbus Blue Jackets lastly discovered their first win of the season on Monday evening. It took them time beyond regulation to get it.
After giving up a late energy play objective within the third interval, the Blue Jackets saved it collectively and pulled out a Four-Three victory over the Buffalo Sabres. That was a a lot wanted win for a lot of causes.
How demoralizing wouldn’t it have been had the Blue Jackets misplaced this sport after the best way they misplaced their first two? They dominated the sport from a photographs and scoring possibilities perspective but couldn’t shut the sport out within the first 60 minutes.
The excellent news is that they received and had some good performances in doing so. This was the very best sport I’ve seen Nick Foligno play in a very long time. He scored within the third interval and made the play in time beyond regulation stealing the puck from Jack Eichel and organising Alex Texier for the game-winner.
Oliver Bjorkstrand had a objective and an help and was maybe the very best skater on the ice. He appeared extra engaged to make issues occur. Maybe this type of sport will earn him extra ice time.
However what’s the large takeaway that I’ve for these first three video games? It’s such a small pattern dimension that it’s important to watch out the conclusions you draw. However one factor is obvious to me. Prepare for a depraved curler coaster trip, Blue Jackets’ followers. This early a part of the season goes to take you on an journey stuffed with ups and downs.
Oliver Bjorkstrand was the most effective skaters on the ice towards the Sabres Monday. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Curler Coaster Journey Forthcoming
Take into account what we’ve seen in these first three video games. Within the Toronto sport, the Blue Jackets performed first 40 minutes then it obtained away within the third. The Maple Leafs received the sport Four-1.
Then the following evening in Pittsburgh, the Blue Jackets performed a gradual 20 minutes. After that, the sport went straight down hill sooner than the primary drop of the Millennium Pressure at Cedar Level. The Penguins ruined Elvis Merzlikins’ NHL debut by scoring 5 instances within the second interval on their solution to a simple 7-2 win.
Then to their credit score, the Blue Jackets regrouped and obtained two factors once they wanted it towards the Sabres. I feel we’ve a sample right here we have to get used to, particularly when you think about the present make-up of the roster.
What’s the recipe for Blue Jackets’ success? Good goaltending, nice protection and well timed scoring. These had been absent within the first two video games. It obtained significantly better within the third sport. Their report speaks for itself in that facet.
Right here’s the factor although. The Blue Jackets once more are one of many youngest groups within the NHL. Contemplating they’ve 5 rookies on the roster, it’s no shock. However it’s additionally no shock that they’re going to have tough nights. It comes with the territory. Simply ask Merzlikins about tough nights. He had his nation of Latvia up at early hours of the morning watching his debut.
Whereas Blue Jackets’ rookies Texier, Merzlikins, Emil Bemstrom, Jakob Lilja and Vladisav Gavrikov all have expertise and upside, they’re all nonetheless new to the NHL. There will probably be changes. There will probably be errors. There will probably be huge errors. You will need to anticipate that of younger gamers on this unforgiving league. It will frustrate you at instances. However they’re going by way of the training course of.
However that’s not all. The veterans are going to have tough nights as nicely. The Blue Jackets had been solely in a position to muster three targets of their first two video games. They couldn’t end their possibilities. With scoring a significant query for this staff, there will probably be nights the place everybody struggles. All it takes is an effective goaltender amongst different issues to restrict your offense.
On the flip aspect, there will probably be video games like Buffalo the place they dominate in most sides of the sport. They convert on their energy play. They get well timed scoring. On these nights, they’ll get their desired consequence. They are going to have many of those nights. They’ll even have nights the place they’ll win once they don’t need to.
So it’s a curler coaster of outcomes and feelings. If there’s something I’ve discovered from these first three video games, it’s that we have to anticipate these loopy swings. The staff continues to be looking for out who they’re and who they need to be this season.
John Tortorella continues to be attempting to determine what he has this season. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports activities)
What Is A Profitable Season?
The important thing for the Blue Jackets will probably be how shortly they can determine themselves out. For the veterans, can they constantly get somebody rising as much as give them their well timed scoring? For the rookies, how shortly can they be taught and modify to the league?
One evening, Foligno will play a heroic sort of sport. On one other evening, Texier can shine and supply an enormous increase. However then on one other evening, everybody will get shut down with no solutions. The difficulty proper now on this early a part of the season is who is aware of what’s going to occur when? I positive don’t.
Now the query to think about for the Blue Jackets is that this: what can be thought-about a profitable season for them? After all the staff will say the objective is to win the Stanley Cup. However with so many rookies and lots of questions, the chances of this occurring is fairly slim. You by no means know although.
However with the long run in thoughts, the bottom line is documented, tangible proof of enchancment by the staff as a complete. After we take a look at the staff in March as in comparison with now, we must always see huge enchancment. That comes from expertise. Whether or not it results in the playoffs is one thing we received’t have a solution to for some time but. But when key gamers reveal an unlimited enchancment, that bodes nicely for future seasons. That must also put them within the thick of a playoff race. In my thoughts, that enchancment and that have makes for a profitable season.
Nevertheless earlier than we get a profitable season, we’re going to get a curler coaster trip. The Blue Jackets have video games upcoming towards Anaheim and Carolina. They might win each video games. They might lose each video games. They might cut up them. They may appear like world beaters in a single sport. However then they could appear like they don’t belong in one other sport. We simply don’t know. Something is feasible proper now.
Be ready for some bouts of inconsistency. The Blue Jackets are attempting to determine themselves out. Persistence is required. Maintain on tight. It’s going to be a bumpy trip.