On Saturday afternoon, the Boston Bruins skated to a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a brutally physical affair with the game being dominated by forechecking and blocked shots. Both goaltenders were stellar, giving their respective teams a chance to take the game. Boston stood tall after 60 minutes.
Immediately after the game, I couldn’t help but think the situation was dire. We lost our second home game in as many home games. Our #DefendNWA campaign was…not very defend-y. Bostonians didn’t overtake the arena by any means, but the attendance was under 15,000. Not to mention the most important part: we lost.
After a few hours, however, I began to reflect. Boston was good, that much was obvious. They blocked 18 (!!) shots and didn’t allow much else. I mean they went toe-to-toe with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup championship last season. And we went toe-to-toe with them. Teams of Columbus past would have no doubt packed it in. There’s just too much evidence to suggest other wise. The game saturday was very even, Columbus probably getting the nod in the “who played better” column.
Within the post game comments, one word kept coming up: “measuring stick.” The Columbus Blue Jackets players kept referring to the game as a good measuring stick for how they would go up against eastern conference power houses. They seemed rather positive, knowing that they could very well play with these types of teams. They were no longer the Columbus Blue Jackets of the past.
Measuring stick, eh? I agree. Just not for the same reasons.
For the most part, I’m pleased with our effort during the game. When the Bruins started the game on a fury, Columbus didn’t scurry. They instead adapted to Boston’s style of play and took it right back at ‘em. But in the end, they lost. Zero points, when two were on the line.
In no way am I hitting the panic button. That would be ridiculous. I’m not even in the same time zone as the panic button. I moved east. But now is no time to let up on our expectations. Yes, it’s all great and grand and wonderful that we stood with the likes of the big bad Bruins, but they beat us at home in regulation. We got zero points for our effort. Zilch. Nada. Goose egg.
The league doesn’t “let” any team into the playoffs, no matter how hard they play. I didn’t hear any protests last season when Minnesota got in over Columbus. Nobody threatened to boycott because the Blue Jackets were just too much of a feel good story. They moved on from it. When the regular season ended, the “feel good Columbus Blue Jackets” turned back into the “only made the playoffs once in their existence” Columbus Blue Jackets.
So yes, the game against the Bruins was a measuring stick. The eastern conference match-ups aren’t going to get any easier. And saturday’s matinee proved that we could certainly match the play of the best in the league.
But it also proved that we will lose those games if we keep referring to losses as measuring sticks. You win or you lose. You don’t get into the playoffs on “hard fought losses.”