New York Islanders at Columbus Blue Jackets Game Day Report
Where: Nationwide Arena
When: Saturday, November 9th @ 7pm
Broadcast Information: Fox Sports Ohio, 97.1 The Fan
The CBJ are back at it tonight with another Metropolitan Division match up, this time against the 6-7 New York Islanders. The Islanders have lost their last two games (6-2 against Washington and a 1-0 shut out loss to Carolina), and the Jackets are on a 5 game slide. New York will be another difficult team for the Jackets; in addition to the Senators, they have already faced the Metropolitan leading Pittsburgh Penguins, and a revitalized New York Rangers team.
This is the second time the Islanders and Jackets have met this season, the last being a 3-2 CBJ shootout win on October 5th. That made them 1-1 on the season, and things were looking up for the team. After defeating the Sabres, the Jackets then went on a 4 game losing streak, followed by a 3 game winning streak. The Isles followed that game up with a win and then traded two to three game winning and losing spurts.
The Islanders are 13th in the NHL in goals per game (2.81), but are giving up the 4th most goals, at 3.06. Columbus trails the Isles considerably in the goals per game department; they are ranked 23 with 2.33, but they have given up fewer goals per game (2.93, good for 23rd in the NHL).
Stats have not really mattered for the Jackets, as teams that have been prone to give up goals (like the Senators) have easily contained the Jackets offense. They are being outworked in every match up during the 5 game slide. Frustration is setting in and it is only serving to make the problems worse. When the Jackets were able to put shots on net against the Rangers, they were usually fired at a high velocity, right at the goaltenders chest. Even Shea Weber can’t put a shot through a goal tender, so these shots did nothing more than test the durability of NYR goalie Cam Talbot’s chest protector.
During the post game we heard all of the right things from Coach Todd Richards and Brandon Dubinsky; they vented their frustrations and said a change in culture and mentality is needed. Coach Richards tore into his players for the first time (according to him), so we will see today if the tough love approach has any effect on the Jackets effort. Unfortunately, the locker room does not seem to be on the same page, as Dubinsky raised the concern of team effort, whereas Jack Johnson reportedly contradicted him by saying team effort is not an issue. Maybe the lack of a team captain is finally rearing its ugly head.
For the first time, the pulse of the fan base is overtly negative going into today’s game. For one month Jackets fans were patient, but with the team not producing positive results on the ice, they are growing restless and want to see some signs of the changes promised by the front office. The Jackets get another chance to prove they are a changed team tonight against the Islanders.
Union and Blue will have all of your game day coverage, and check back later for more posts about tonight’s match up!