During a stretch where the Columbus Blue Jackets played five games in seven days, the home team was able to come away from their affair with the Florida Panthers Saturday night with a point after falling in the shootout. Do the Jackets have anything they should be worried about or is this just a matter of puck luck for the boys in Union Blue?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Good: Brandon Saad
John Tortorella has been critical of the way Brandon Saad has played in recent games due to the perceived rut that Saad was stuck in of focusing mainly on offense. Saad plays tonight’s game hard and has somehow taken his game to another level during this abridged road trip. Tonight he led all Jackets skaters with a CF% of 61.9%. That is a shot differential that can swing the tide of a game. His speed has kept team’s on their heels and the Jackets have been taking advantage of the way he has been playing as of late.
The Bad: Distribution of ice time
The first goal let in by Sergei Bobrovsky was bad, no doubt. After that play Lukas Sedlak and Markus Hannaikainen barely saw the ice again. They both only saw five and six minutes of total ice time. That is way too low if the Jackets hope to run four lines this year. Shortening your bench can be a beneficial tactic in the closing minutes but to basically eliminate some certain players from playing early on in the game is putting your team at a disadvantage. You know that Sedlak has played well for your team this year, why not continue to play him and let him bounce back? The Florida goal was not on that fourth line, let them bounce back to show that they can play for you later on in the game.
The Ugly: Fatigue
That was a lot of hockey for the Blue Jackets as of late, they slammed a bunch of games into a short amount of time. They are playing a much more solid game and are taking the fight to many of these teams. The fact that they were able to keep skating and keep up with Panthers is a massive plus moving forward. They’ll get a more spread out schedule in the weeks and months ahead, so battling through fatigue to at least get a point is huge. This game won’t ever be remembered for how pretty it was but it will prove vital to the Jackets if they expect themselves to make a playoff run.