The Columbus Blue Jackets had a hot start to the playoffs with two straight wins against the Washington Capitals, however they followed that with two consecutive losses. What changed between the away and home games?
The Columbus Blue Jackets struggled closing out games even against Philipp Grubauer due to giving up an abundance of shots and power play opportunities to one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the NHL. Now, the Washington Capitals have matched Sergei Bobrovsky with Braden Holtby and after four games there are many Blue Jackets fans asking why the team is struggling so badly.
A big disadvantage to the Blue Jackets is the loss of Alexander Wennberg. Although it hurt not having him in the second game of the series, it had a bigger effect on games three and four.
The fatigue of games every other day is beginning to catch up with the team, especially the younger players like Sonny Milano, who have had little success in the post season.
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Adding Wennberg back in wouldn’t reduce the amount of fatigue, however as obvious as it may sound a fatigued top six player is much better than a fatigued bottom six one.
Braden Holtby is also a reason why life has become harder for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s been putting on a show, making difficult saves look easy while barely being challenged with the total number of shots per game.
Philipp Grubauer simply isn’t a Vezina winning, elite goaltender but Holtby is and as a result the Capitals are a much better team with him in net. Bobrovsky is playing well but Holtby is just not facing the same amount of scoring chances that Bob does in a game.
The Columbus Blue Jackets outscored the Capitals 9-7 in the first two games, however the last two games have been less fortunate for Columbus. The Blue Jackets have since been outscored 7-3 by Washington, and their offense doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
The addition of Holtby into the mix has made this into a much more difficult series and with the subtraction of Wennberg, the Blue Jackets are in a tough situation.