The Columbus Blue Jackets are now 7-9-1 since winning 16 games in a row. They had one of their worst losses of the season last night, falling 3-0 at home to a Vancouver team that entered on a four-game losing streak.
“There was zero emotion within the game, and for what reason I don’t know,” head coach John Tortorella said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “Nothing happens right if you don’t play with emotion. We’ve got to get that figured out.”
The Jackets were playing the first of a seven-game home stand. As such, they were hoping to get off to a fast, energetic start in their own rink.
“We need to reinvent ourselves and get the chip back on our shoulder,” Tortorella had said before the game. “It’s our home building. I think we have to get some consistency, how we start the game first of all, and make sure (Nationwide Arena) is a tough place to play.”
Tortorella did like the first three shifts his team played, “but then we — why? I don’t know — but we just…we didn’t play well.”
Credit to the Canucks, whose best player was goalie Ryan Miller. Vancouver also won the special-teams battle, scoring once on the power play — on a classic Sedins passing play, finished off by Loui Eriksson — then getting another pretty goal from Jayson Megna, who beat Sergei Bobrovksy just as a Columbus penalty was expiring.
Speaking of Bobrovsky, he was not the reason the Jackets lost. But it’s worth noting that his save percentage is a woeful .896 in 11 starts since the winning streak ended. He said at the All-Star Game that he was feeling “really good right now“; however, one wonders if fatigue has begun to set in.
Bobrovsky has started 43 games this season, the seventh-most in the NHL. Other busy goalies around the league have also been struggling, including Carey Price, Tuukka Rask, Martin Jones, and Frederik Andersen.
The Jackets’ next game is Saturday against Detroit. And if last night was a wake-up call, expect a much better, more energetic performance versus the Red Wings.
If, on the other hand, Columbus comes out flat again, expect a very unhappy coach.