The Blue Jackets responded to their loss against the Bruins with an absolute butt whopping on the St. Louis Blues, defeating them 8-4. 12 different players picked up a point, yet somehow through it all this didn’t feel like a complete game from the team. What worked and what didn’t?
Good, Better, Best
Good: Nick Foligno
Foligno has had the best start on the Blue Jackets this year. He has begun to look like the player that the Jackets signed to a long term deal. Skating with the puck on his stick, he looks as electric as ever. Being paired with Wennberg and Saad on a line has been a god send for everyone involved, especially after picking up three points this past night. His shot differential numbers are among some of the best on the team and he faces the best competition each night, last night was no exception. Multi point nights are hard to come by and Foligno already has five, don’t expect many more but hope that he can find some consistency throughout the year.
Better: Sam Gagner
What a pick up Sam Gagner is turning out to be. Once thought of as a pick up for “insurance” type purposes for the Jackets, Gagner is already exceeding expectations adding two goals this past evening. He is already at half of last season’s point total in 1/4 of the games. Known as more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, the goals are a pleasant surprise and will be encouraging if they sustain over the course of an entire season. Still only 27, Gagner is showing that he still has some left in the tank and he can be a difference maker in the NHL.
Best: Cam Atkinson
Atkinson could have been swallowed up in the slow start that his linemates fell into earlier in the season but Atkinson kept producing points. While his power play point totals were impressive, seeing him score at 5v5 would calm fears about his line. He didn’t score any goals but four assists cannot be overlooked. He was all over the ice tonight and made his presence known being a continuous thorn in the Blues side.
The Jackets won’t score eight goals every night, they’ll need better team defense to shore up some of the goals they allowed this past game. After having a sterling penalty kill percentage, that has now effectively gone down the crapper giving up four power play goals. It will lead to long locker room conversations from head coach John Tortorella and hopefully some long term improvement.