In the game after clinching a playoff spot our Columbus Blue Jackets took on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa. It was the NHL debut of Tampa’s Latvian goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis. The Jackets threw 38 shots at the rookie and were not able to get much behind him, dropping by a score of 3-2. Boone Jenner netted his 16th goal of the season for the Jackets, and added an assist on a late goal by David Savard. Curtis McElhinney got the start in place of a resting Sergei Bobrovsky, and made 19 saves.
The Jackets did not play too terribly tonight, but they definitely had their problems. They might have still been riding the high of clinching a playoff spot, but either way they pushed the play at times. Gudlevskis played outstanding in his debut, and Eric Brewer, not a scoring defenseman, scored twice in a short amount of time. This pretty much killed the Jackets’ chances at getting back into the game. As stated before, the Savard goal came late off a great feed from Jenner, but Gudlevskis was too much in the late push.
Columbus struggled with sustaining a constant offensive pressure all game, with most of the time spent in the offensive zone coming in bursts. It was clear from the start that the Blue Jackets were not putting forth their absolute best effort. While there is still the matter of playoff seeding to take care of, this loss cannot harm what is already to be a playoff team. As we know the end of the season scheduling is brutal for the Jackets, and for them to falter now after already clinching is acceptable, but not recommended. Resting the horse that is Bobrovsky is smart, but it’s always nice to have some momentum riding into the first round of the playoffs. Hopefully they can bounce back tomorrow night as they finish the season out at the Florida Panthers. McElhinney will get the start in that game as well. Here’s to getting one more victory before we Battle On!
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets