The Blue Jackets are off to the worst season in franchise history through 41 games. Sitting 32nd in the NHL with a 12-17-2 record (26pts), a year that began with much hope has dissipated into another year of rebuilding; with the hope that we can add a franchise altering player at the upcoming draft. Today we’ll take a look at some of the highlights, and lowlights of the first half of the season.
First, let’s take a look back at the team’s biggest, most impressive win so far: October 23 vs the New York Rangers. The Jackets rolled into Madison Square Garden having won two of their last three games – but unfortunately, this matchup came on the second half of a back-to-back, with the Jackets losing 6-3 in Pittsburgh the night before.
Having to travel and play the very next night is tough in any situation; but the young Jackets had to do so against two of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division. With a 2-4-0 record to kick off the year, this seemed like a game that would show us what this team was made of.
Naturally, the road weary Jackets shocked the Rangers by playing their most complete game of the entire first half of the season. Five different players scored goals for the good guys, and Daniil Tarasov took home first star of the game honors by making 30 saves on 31 shots in a 5-1 CBJ win.
Unfortunately, the team would promptly lose the next five games, including both of the Global Series games in Finland … proving that this Sunday game in NYC was a red herring.
One of those five losses: the low point of the first half of the season. Unfortunately, there were plenty of these to choose from. This team has quit on several occasions and have given up 6 or more goals 9 times already this season. The easy choice here would be the 9-4 loss against Buffalo on December 7th. This one stunk because not only was it a home game, it was on national TV. But, the Jackets did play a mostly even game after that embarrassing first period.
For me, the worst performance this team had in the first half of the season: October 30 at New Jersey. Just one week after beating the Rangers, the Jackets rolled into New Jersey having lost two games in a row (6-3 vs Arizona, 4-0 vs Boston). They were due to leave for Finland after a stop in New Jersey; had a day of rest and would have a few days off afterward before the Global Series games. They should have been looking to empty the tanks.
But, they did not empty the tanks. The tanks were empty when they got there. The Devils struck late in the first, then added 3 goals each in the second and third periods, blowing the Jackets out by a 7-1 score. The team obviously quit in this game, and were expectedly embarrassed by a high powered New Jersey offense that scored way too easily.