Blue Jackets Loss in Ottawa Reflects Team's Plight

A Tuesday night game in February saw the Blue Jackets face the only team they can conceivably catch in the Eastern Conference standings. In the end, they did exactly what we have come to expect this season.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Ottawa Senators
Columbus Blue Jackets v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

Through their ups and (mostly) downs this season, the Columbus Blue Jackets have remained remarkably consistent. I don't mean that in a good way.

Last night's game was, perhaps, the best proof of their consistency. They did exactly what we expected them to do. The Jackets played 40 minutes of strong, physical, skilled hockey ... and 20 minutes of what I can only call a disaster on ice.

That 20 minute slump has often happened in the third period this season. Last night in Ottawa, it was the first 20 minutes. The team came out flat and paid the price.

After scoring the first goal of the game on a bounce off of a skate, they gave up 5 straight goals to the Senators - including 2 shorthanded on the same power-play. Fortunately, the second shorty was waived off as a result of goaltender interference. But, they were well on their way to being embarrassed by that point.

Sure, they made the game interesting. For a brief few moments in the second period, it looked like they had a chance to get back into it. They were within one goal for around three minutes, before the Sens again started pouring it on, scoring the insurance goal on the power-play. Special teams killed the Jackets all night, as it has all season.

Last night's matchup featured the 15th and 16th place teams in the Eastern Conference. The Jackets could catch the Sens in the standings, at least in theory. But if you look at the whole picture, the standings aren't even really close. And, last night was proof that the Jackets aren't even close on the ice.

After last night's loss, they're only 4 points behind Ottawa in the standings; but the Sens have played three fewer games. Every other team in the Eastern Conference has at least 22 wins.

The Jackets have won just 16 of their 52 games this season. Taking away the loser point (overtime/shootout losses), they're basically playing at a .307% pace. That's brutal.

At some point, this team will figure out how to play a full 60 minutes of good hockey. But until that happens, it's hard to see them winning at a much higher rate. Games like last night are to be expected from this group.