Oct 4, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (20) celebrates with center Ben Street (38) after scoring a goal in the third period of the 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Grading The Columbus Blue Jackets Opening Night Play

The Columbus Blue Jackets opened up their season last night against the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena. Unfortunately the Flames were better than expected and they were victorious by a score of four to three.

Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The game certainly had its ups and downs for the Blue Jackets, there were moments of brilliance, i.e. Gaborik’s pass to Jack Johnson for the first goal. There were also times of complete breakdown, i.e. a wide open Curtis Glencross, who put home the game winning goal right on the Blue Jackets doorstep.

Here is a breakdown of the Blue Jackets game by position and special teams, including a final grade…

Forwards:

If the Blue Jackets won, then the moments of brilliance like the Jack Johnson power play goal would have shined, but CBJ didn’t win, so the negative aspects of the game show through more.

The Blue Jackets forwards played on the boarder of okay and good. In this game they helped bail out the defense, and they kept Columbus in the game. There were still flaws though.

Playing below the hash marks, and wearing down the Calgary defense would have gained the Blue Jackets more time in the offensive zone. More time in offensive zone would eventually create more scoring chances. More scoring chances lead to more goals.

Overall Grade: B-

Defense:

The defense was sloppy, made bad passes (Wisniewski and Murray), they gave up the puck, and they didn’t cover men right in front of the net. If you haven’t been able to catch any other NHL games yet this season though, the common theme has been sloppy defense. Not an excuse for the Blue Jackets, but they aren’t the only defense who forgot how to play.

Jack Johnson did step up and score a goal, and also added an assist, which was probably the highlight of the defense. They also cleared the puck from the front of the night well last night. They may have helped Bobrovsky clear the puck a few times, but they also let him down a few times. Murray’s blind pass that led to T. J. Galiardi’s goal, and leaving Glencross alone to put home a puck right in front of the net top the list.

Overall Grade: D

Goaltending:

As mentioned, Sergei Bobrovsky didn’t exactly receive a ton of help at certain times. A strong stop on Galiardi could have been a huge momentum changer that the Blue Jackets could have benefited from though.

Jiri Hudler scored a rocket of a slap shot on Bobrvosky, a point blank shot like that doesn’t give a goalie much of a chance, especially with placement like that. Can’t blame him for that goal against, especially because the defense was unable to clear the puck far enough down the ice, and the Flames came back quick and Hudler capitalized.

Rebounds seemed to be a slight issue, some seemed to pop right out and were sitting ducks. Again though, it was the first game of the regular season. A goalie has to find his groove, and we know Bobrovsky can find his groove.

Overall Grade: B-

Power Play: 

Mandatory Credit: Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The first power play went well for the Blue Jackets. There was good puck movement, and players were also circulating. Marian Gaborik passed the puck perfectly to Jack Johnson to score the first goal, which was the highlight of the night for the Blue Jackets and the power play.

In the grand scheme of things, the power play did decent. Yes, there were some moments where they looked horrid. Getting a goal on the first power play of the season is a plus though, and they went one for three overall. Obviously one more goal on the PP would have helped, but they only got one. 33% to start off the year is good, considering it could have been 0%.

Overall Grade: B- 

Penalty Kill:

The penalty kill got the job done tonight, whether it was Bobrovsky making a big save, or if it was the defense eventually clearing the puck, either way they did there job. Again, it may have looked sloppy, because the defense in every situation looked confused at times, but they killed off three of three.

Clearing the puck all the way down the ice, in whatever way possible, would be something to improve on. There was a point in one of the Calgary power plays that the Blue Jackets just couldn’t get the puck out of the zone for the life of them. It wasn’t because they didn’t have the chance, it was because they didn’t succeed on their opportunities to do so.

Overall Grade: B

Overall Play:

You watched the game, you know how the overall play went, and you have your own opinions of the game. Like I said previously, there were highs and there were lows. Tonight because of the loss the lows outweighed the highs. If the defense could have showed up a few more times the game could have gone a different way. This year it is a full 82 game schedule, and their are a lot of games to win, now the Blue Jackets know though, no team is to be taken lightly in this league.

Overall Grade: C+

 

Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets

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