Tampa Bay Lightning @ Columbus Blue Jackets
December 3rd, 2013 , 7:00 PM, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: FSO, SUN
After a busy November, filled with several ups and downs (as well as injuries), the Columbus Blue Jackets finally got some rest between games. After a quick trip out to Boston on Saturday, the Jackets had a two day break from NHL action. After enduring a game that only saw 14 Blue Jackets shots on net, I am sure the fans welcomed the break as well.
It has not been easy watching this team over the last few weeks, considering that the last time the Jackets won consecutive games, I was deciding on what I was going to wear to a Halloween party. I just strung up the Christmas lights tonight! With a loss following every win, the victories are starting to feel hollow. Sure the Jackets got a win, but as a fan, you are immediately thinking about the next game and wondering how hard the Jackets will fall back to Earth.
So here we are, another game following a spectacular Blue Jackets loss, and the recent trends would indicate the Jackets should win tonight. With a Stamkos-less Lightning, the Jackets SHOULD win tonight, but it will not be an easy task. Despite losing their leading scorer, the Lightning’s 2.8 goals per game puts them 10th in the NHL. The Lightning have lost their last 4 road games and are coming off a 3-0 shutout loss to the Penguins, but coach John Cooper was happy with the way his team played:
[Pittsburgh has] some big-time players. Buried that first one and put us behind … I was not displeased with the way we played. I didn’t think it was a 3-0 hockey game to be honest.
The Lightning come into tonight’s came confident, and why wouldn’t they be. The Jackets have been taking bad penalties, making mistakes in their defensive zone, and generating little to no offense. The players know it, but they have been unable to put their words into action. After the Boston game, R.J. Umberger was quoted as saying:
Not enough [shots] and not enough quality ones either. We’ve got to find a way to generate more. Probably the two things we talked about the most [was] more shots, get 10 a period, and stay disciplined, no penalties, and it didn’t seem like we executed either one
It is one thing to recognize what the problem is, it is another to correct it with a proper plan of action. How many times have we heard someone from the Columbus Blue Jackets say something similar to Umberger? Yet, two months into the season, the same problems we have seen from Day 1 remain an issue.
Tonight begins a new month for the Jackets and it presents an opportunity for them to put the inconsistencies of November behind them. They need a bounce back win tonight, and then need to bridge that success to Friday against the Wild. Anything less is not acceptable for this team.
Next up we will take a look at some stats for today’s game, as well as some game notes and the Union and Blue Song For the Game!