fbpx
Skip to main content

Blue Jackets, desperate for more goal production, face Flames

Sportsnaut
Jan 23, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Jakub Voracek (93) plays the puck ahead of pressure from Ottawa Senators left wing Austin Watson (16) at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Jakub Voracek (93) plays the puck ahead of pressure from Ottawa Senators left wing Austin Watson (16) at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The glass-half-full view of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ recent woes says they are a team not receiving its just rewards. Case in point: Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, in which the Blue Jackets outshot the Senators and had more high-danger scoring chances.

As the Blue Jackets prepare to play host to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, it is just as easy to take the glass-half-empty view that the Blue Jackets are not playing well enough to win, especially offensively.

The Blue Jackets have lost two straight games, dropped three of four outings and are on a 6-14-1 slide that has them plummeting down the standings, and their lack of goals has been a major factor.

“I’m overthinking it too much sometimes when I get into scoring position,” admitted forward Jakub Voracek. “I’m thinking too much instead of just shooting it somewhere, trying to always come up with some extra and sometimes it doesn’t work.”

Adding to their woes is the ice-cold power play. The Blue Jackets are converting at a miserable 6.67 percent rate (3-for-45) in the last 20 games while holding a man-advantage. Among players struggling for offensive success are Patrik Laine, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jack Roslovic and Max Domi.

“I want to see more shooting from our team,” said coach Brad Larsen, who called his team “lifeless” recently. “That’s the one thing we talked about … playing more direct, funneling pucks.

“We’re trying to tic-tac-toe it in. We’re not there right now. That’s not how we’re gonna score goals. We needed to generate more shots when those opportunities came.”

The Flames arrive in Ohio riding high after a 7-1 thumping of the St. Louis Blues at home on Monday, a game in which Johnny Gaudreau netted one goal and three assists while Matthew Tkachuk collected five assists.

Calgary has struggled since early December after a COVID-19 outbreak, but has won two of its last three games and scored 15 goals in that span that also included a one-sided victory over the Florida Panthers, who were atop the league standings at the time. In between those games, they saw a 2-0 lead disappear en route to losing 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

Tkachuk has recorded 13 points in a five-game streak.

“We had a two-goal lead after the first period in Edmonton and had a two-goal lead again (Monday),” Tkachuk said after beating St. Louis. “We played better in the second period, didn’t give them much. They didn’t have much after two periods. In the third period, they got a little more time in our zone — more shots, more chances, which we weren’t happy about — but in general, yeah, we’re happy with that win.”

Despite his team’s recent offensive outburst, coach Darryl Sutter was quick to point out the similarity between both of their wins in the last week. Both the Blues and Panthers are in the top five offensively in the league, but the Flames held them to one goal.

“We didn’t give them much. That’s a big improvement on our last game,” Sutter said while comparing his club’s recent performances. “The bottom line is, we have to check to win. Two goals was enough to win (those games) and that’s how you’ve got to play.”

–Field Level Media