It was just one of those games.
On any other night of the year, any other game of the season the Columbus Blue Jackets would have wore out the cannon. 47 shots on goal would have meant about 5 or 6 goals. Tonight they got one.
The crown in Nationwide Arena was just waiting, on anything. On a goal, a big save, a big hit, ssomething to get them fired up. And it just never came. A lowly 20 shots on goal was all it took for the Hurricanes to light the lamp 3 times on Sergei Bobrovsky. He may have not had his best game as a Blue Jacket but he single handily kept them in the game in the second period.
It was rookie Boo(ooooooo)ne Jenner who (oh my god, finally) scored with 50 seconds left in the game, spoiling the Carolina shutout. Like I said earlier, it took 47 shots. The beyond frustrated crowd hung their heads low as they shuffled out of the arena and onto the streets of downtown Columbus, Ohio, their hockey club falling 3-1.
Sure, there are times you look back into the game and circle with a big fat red permanent marker the mistakes they made leading to a 3-1 loss. But as a whole, it’s…well, it’s just one of those games. It’s hard to fault a team that has 47 shots on goal. At that point it’s pretty obvious it’s not you, it’s their goaltender.
Despite being down 1-0 early, Columbus all but dominated the first period. They got pucks down low, fended off a heavy and suffocating Hurricane defense to generate quite a few healthy shots. The second period saw 2 Carolina goals as the Jackets were trying frantically not to have the score at 4 or 5-0.
The third period effort was about all that you cold ask for as the Jackets outshot Carolina 19-0. Their intentions were well, but the Blue Jacket onslaught turned into a sloppy, desperate display. Despite putting up 19 third period shots, it felt like Carolina had 119 blocked shots. Talk about frustrating.
So, what does that mean going forward? Perspective tells us there’s still plenty of games left. Perspective also tells us that that loss, paired with both a Flyers and a Rangers victory, dropped us back down into the 2nd wildcard slot and 8th in the eastern conference.
Oh, have the mighty fallen.
In such a tight race where a couple of games means the difference between growing playoff beards and teeing up for 18, every shift, every save, every goal is important. Every game is the most important game of the year. Every loss feels like you need to dig the clubs out and every win feels like you need to schedule off work for the victory parade. And that’s not over-dramatizing the situation.
Going forward, I still believe in who this team is. I believe, from where we are, that we will get into the playoffs. But you can’t take games for granted, you can’t say “we’ll get ‘em next time. There is no next time. The time is now.