Only two games into the Blue Jackets 2013-14 campaign, and we have seen two totally different teams on the ice. The motivation, skill and determination shown by our boys in blue seems to turn on and off like someone is flipping a switch.
The home opener was a lackluster performance, and the defense looked sluggish and dull. James Wisniewski appeared as if he were skating through a foot of mud, and Jack Johnson looked to be the only defensemen fully engaged in the game. But that is not the whole story. There were moments within the game that provided some hope and energy to the sold out crowd in Nationwide Arena, such as Jack Johnson’s power play goal. However, in the end, the lackluster outweighed the positive and the Jackets fell in regulation 4-3.
Tonight in New York, the Jackets had a chance to start anew. The first period provided hope, although the defense was still showing signs of the same sluggish behavior seen the previous night.
The second period was starring a whole new side of the Blue Jackets. The team looked totally deflated and could not properly handle the puck in any zone. The manner in which the team was playing in the second should make Jackets fans happy that they only gave up two goals in the period.
After two periods, the Blue Jackets only had 12 shots on goal.
Going into the third period down 2-0, it appeared that Todd Richards sent a whole new team onto the ice. Showing a brand new side to the team, the Jackets came out motivated and focused. They controlled the puck in the Islanders zone, and were able to tie up the game and force overtime, where they won the game in a shootout in front of a sold out crowd in Long Island.
There are two positives so far this season:
1. The play of Sergei Bobrovsky is strong, and appears to be getting better as time goes on. It is very reasonable to understand that he needs time to shake the rust off.
2. The Jackets have two power play goals in two games which equates to a 40% power play percentage.
It appears that the Todd Richards and the coaching staff are slowly figuring out where the puzzle pieces fit. I firmly believe that this team will get better and better as time passes, and they will do it step by step, brick by brick.
The Jackets have the next 4 days off to work on the negatives until they face Buffalo on Thursday night.