Game 2: Few Signs this series will change
Some say a series doesn’t begin until the home team loses.
That’s about the only thing the Columbus Blue Jackets have going for them into Game 3.
Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win in Game 2 had to be a demoralizing loss for the Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets did a lot of things they wanted to do and still came out with just one goal.
“I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “I’m proud of our club. The way they’ve handled themselves. The way they’ve done all the things we’re asking them to do.”
Columbus put 40 shots on goal, won the possession game again (60-48, 5v5), were +5 in scoring chances, and an improvement from Game 1, Columbus in the first half of game 2 were able to attack off the rush through the neutral zone with multiple 3-on-3 down the ice rushes, sometimes 3-on-2 rushes with a Penguin backchecker closing in.
95% of the time, though, they would have come away with nothing or a low percentage shot. Beating the Penguins you have to be able to make a skilled play off the rush and get them out of their structure by having their defenders/back checkers move side to side and Columbus just doesn’t have the ability to do it.
Leaky Goals/Bad Bounces?
The Blue Jackets are a team that scores a lot of goals 10-15 feet from the net and rely on scoring leaky goals. Last post-season there’s a reason the only team to take the Penguins to seven games was the Tampa Bay Lightning who could match their skill. Tampa had that skill dimension when being out played by the Penguins to change momentum out of the blue.
Scott Hartnell’s scouting report on Marc Andre Fleury hasn’t played out through two games, where Hartnell says Fleury stops the hard shots but lets in the soft goals. A problem for Columbus, Fleury is not giving up leaky goals as he has stopped 70 of 72 shots.
For a club that’s now lost seven of their last nine games and that’s struggling to score goals over the last couple weeks, losing in the manner they did in Game 2 where they still can’t find the back of the net just adds to the pressure that will be on the Blue Jackets in Game 3, especially in the first period where they will pretty much be fighting for their playoff lives.
If Game 2 would have been a 5-4 or even 4-3 loss for the Blue Jackets, I think there would be a different feel in that Blue Jackets room right now.
Marc Andre Fleury was really good again but what can demoralizing to an underdog team like the Blue Jackets are those plays that should be goals that Columbus just hasn’t been able to put in the net.
A few instances, one in the second period, a scramble in front with Fleury out of position and Ian Cole slides to make a great block an Oliver Bjorkstrand shot from 15 feet in the slot in what was a wide open net for Bjorkstrand.
Early in the third period, the Blue Jackets down 3-1 get the Penguins moving side to side and from the right circle Cam Atkinson has an open net as Fleury was screened and slow to track the puck and Atkinson misses the net by at least 10 feet, a shot Bob Errey on the telecast was marveling about in how he couldn’t believe Atkinson didn’t bury it. That’s a play a 30 goal scorer has to bury and why the Blue Jackets have two goals through two games.
Late in the third period you also had a puck somehow take a bounce and not go into the back of the net by sitting on the outside of the post that Atkinson, Saad couldn’t jam in.
“It’s funny, just the way those bounces are going. But once they start bouncing our way, watch out.” — Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno claimed.
The Blue Jackets haven’t had the bounces going their way, I will give them that and that obviously has to change for them in Game 3, maybe it does for a night, but what happened to the goaltender edge they should have?
Sergei Bobrovsky not Marc Andre Fleury is the one giving up leaky goals and the likely 2-time Vezina Trophy winner who is the far superior goaltender, has been outplayed by Fleury.
Bobrovsky is 0-6 in his last six games, allowing 19 goals over that span. He’s allowed 6 goals on 60 shots to start the series, bringing his career playoff record to 2-8 with an .891 save percentage.
No team since the 2011 Boston Bruins have won a series when going down 2-0.
Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary Line Heating Up
#CBJ increase shot count, triple their high-danger attempts in Game 2 defeat.
Reaction from Torts, Werenski & more: https://t.co/FTWprWEyNW
— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 15, 2017
While the Blue Jackets might be padding themselves on the back for tripling their high danger chances, going from 3 in Game 1 to 9 in Game 2, the Penguins countered Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"