The Jackets barely pulled off a win in Montreal on Thursday and lost at home to the Rangers last night. One part of their game in particular has been plaguing them: the power play. The Jackets went into the game in Montreal having missed their previous 18 power play opportunities, and things didn’t improve. They had eight power play chances against the Canadiens, some of them overlapping for 5-on-3 opportunities, and even one four-minute man-advantage. Through that, they only registered 13 power play shots, and the drought continued.
The Jackets’power play units looked weak against Montreal, and nothing improved last night against New York. As the game progressed, I found myself smiling when the crowed booed at refs missing calls. After all, the Jackets looked better with even strength than on the power play! Needless to say, the Jackets missed every power play opportunity last night, which very well could have been the difference in a one-goal game (before the empty-net goal of course.)
The lack of power play efficiency this late in the season is a problem for Columbus. They were in the third Metropolitan Division Playoff spot, but after losing to New York last night they have fallen to the final Eastern Conference Wild Card spot. If the Jackets want to make the Playoffs, which, of course, they do, they are going to have to find some way to convert on the man-advantage. Plus, if they do scrape up a Playoff spot, this power play drought can’t continue. The Jackets got a glimpse of playoff-style hockey last night against the Rangers, and they couldn’t keep up. Power play goals are crucial in the Playoffs, and right now the Jackets just can’t find them.
So, what do they do? The team is going o have to find some way to start converting power plays into goals. Whether this is through more drills in practice, some choice scratches or a changing of lines we’ll have to wait and see, but if the Jackets want to compete in the final stretch and Playoffs this year, something needs to change.