The Blue Jackets came out of a two game weekend with two points, after facing two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Their big win on Sunday is a positive result after a terribly disappointing outcome on Saturday, continuing to breathe hope into the fanbase that this team can be competitive. But the main take away from these two games might be the performance of their goaltenders.
The team came out flying on Saturday, dominating the first 15 minutes of the game against the high flying Penguins (get it?), and taking a 2-0 lead into intermission. It sure looked like the Jackets were going to snap the head-to-head losing streak against the Penguins. But as is standard when these two teams play, the team in black and gold came storming back, and took the game over.
It all started with a goal by Josh Archibald, one that Elvis would probably love to have back:
It seemed like the Jackets were in good shape after Kent Johnson potted his first career NHL goal just 14 seconds later, giving the team a 3-1 lead. But the Penguins kept chipping away, eventually finding a way to tie the game before the end of the second. They would go on to score 5 unanswered, and took home a 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets.
Now, it would be entirely unfair of me to pin the blame entirely on Elvis. Certainly, this team’s defense isn’t great … in fact, they really aren’t that good at all. But, hockey is a game of momentum, and a goaltender can make or break momentum for their team. They affect the game more than any other position on the ice, especially when it comes to making a big save, or giving up a soft goal.
I do think it’s fair to say that the first goal Pittsburgh scored on Saturday night, was a soft goal. Ask any goalie around the league and they’ll tell you they want that shot from that location. It should be an easy save, but he’s clearly over pushing and that’s an easy shoot in for an NHL player. At the time of the goal, the Blue Jackets still held an 18-10 shot advantage and were well in control of the game. They just needed a save here.
Their second goal, it looks like he just completely misses the puck. You can see him visibly frustrated with himself after the puck goes by, which is a common reaction from a player when they make a mistake. The third goal? Failed at clearing his own rebound, instead chipping the puck right into the slot.
Defensive coverages get blown, leading to goals #4 and 5. The damage is likely done at this point, but the Penguins get one more goal behind Elvis, courtesy of an ugly rebound (see video above), which should never happen in the NHL. This puts the game well out of reach, as Pittsburgh takes a 6-3 lead.