There will be no 0-8 start. While the Jackets were the last NHL team to earn their first win, they were also entering just their third match tonight, and they posted a strong 3-2 victory over a strong opponent in the Chicago Blackhawks. While the loss of Ryan Murray (for the foreseeable future) hurts the club, they now head west perhaps gripping their sticks a bit less tightly knowing that they are off the schneid.
Let’s take a look at the superlatives.
The Good: Shooting the Puck
Shooting the puck leads to scoring the goals which leads to winning the games. We heard from Tortorella that he wanted his team to be more shot focused. It’s something we heard echoed in practice this past week – go for the shot, and go for the second chance shot – don’t be one and done. Interestingly, considering the three games the Jackets have played this year, the match up against Chicago posted the lowest total of shot attempts (all situations) with 50, and also in an adjusted state with 42.8. So Columbus didn’t meet Torts’ goal of 60-65 attempts, but what they did do was come out early and set a tone of shooting. The Jackets owned Chicago in even strength shot attempts in the first period, 20-9. That was an important response after five days off when just the third period against San Jose on Saturday had shown what this team might be able to do.
You could feel the team wanting to shoot – you could see the team wanting to shoot. And it paid off.
The Bad: Boone Jenner
Mr. Jenner. Oh he of the 30 goal season. Boone seees to still be finding his rhythm early in this season. He was placed on the fourth line for tonight’s game, was part of Chicago’s first goal against, and had the second-lowest time on ice among non-injured Jackets (a mere 8:10). (That lowest mark? Oliver Bjorkstrand played 8:01 and has since been assigned to the AHL Cleveland Monsters). In his time on ice, Jenner was unable to impact his teammates positively. Jenner was on ice for a shot event with 11 other Jackets tonight, which means either the CBJ or Chicago had a goal, a shot on goal, a missed shot, or a blocked shot. Of those 11, a full 7 Columbus were better off in net shot attempts when playing away from Jenner (with a sample size caveat, linemate data via Natural Stat Trick). And Boone didn’t tear up the opponent in a meaningful way (see below, via Hockey Viz). There is no question Jenner is a hard working player who will get back on the horse, but for now, he needs to find his way back to a productive style of play.
The Ugly: Ryan Murray is Hurt
We learned in the post game press conference that Ryan Murray will not travel with the team to Dallas to start the Jackets’ four game road trip. Murray seemed to have finally put behind him the injury whispers after playing in every game last season, but this is the second time this year that he has been sidelined. For an important cog in the defense that is no bueno.
Tweet of the Game.
We love this. It’s glorious. In fact, it’s a delight.