The calendar still says October, and the Jackets are only five games into the season. The start has not exactly been stellar, and the team has already suffered a few bumps and bruises. So while waiting for the next game, I am asking myself one question…where do the Jackets go from here?
When trying to answer my own question, two things immediately come to mind:
First, our defense needs to be much more consistent. There have been a few moments when they looked pretty good, and there have been several blocked shots. The bad news is that the times when they have looked like a cohesive unit are few and far between. James Wisniewski is still not living up to his potential, and has basically been invisible on the ice.
This has been said time and time again, but it needs to be stated again: The Blue Jackets cannot rely 100% on Sergei Bobrovsky to save every game. The defensive core of a hockey club makes the difference between a win and a loss every time. After all, to win a game, a team only needs to score one more goal than their defense allows.
Since I brought up Bobrovsky, I must state that he has looked excellent. Sure, he gave up a soft goal against the Red Wings, and he was having issues with giving away rebounds, but those are being fixed more and more each game. Bobrovsky currently has a 2.18 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. I am confident in saying that those numbers will only get better with each game. There is no one as determined as he to go out there a win night after night.
Secondly, the forwards have got to take better quality shots. The Jackets have had no trouble getting shots on goal for the most part. However, they have to be more creative, and take better aim. Until the third period against Detroit, Columbus was easily winning in the shots on goal category, but each shot looked as if it were aimed right at the glove side of Jonas Gustavsson.
The Jackets’ passing has looked so much better this season, which in turn will provide more shooting opportunities, but they have to make the most of it. The fundamentals are there for our offense, now they just need to add a little finesse.
Fear not, Jackets faithful. We are five games into an 82-game season, and this group are still learning each other. We all wanted to see immediate fire right out of the gate this season, but patience will prove to be worthwhile.
Next stop: Thursday night in Montreal.