Aftermath No. 4: Colorado
The story of the game could be summed up as such: the Blue Jackets started slowly for the third time in four games, rebounded well and put together a solid 40 minutes, but ultimately dropped a 4-0 decision to the Avalanche.
Sergei Bobrovsky struggled at the start, but made some key saves in the later half of the first period and more in the second to keep the Blue Jackets in decent shape entering the second period. Don't get it mistaken: if not for the goaltender, Columbus may have faced an even larger deficit after a subpar first period.
One bright spot (even though it didn't produce) was the Blue Jackets power play, which has regularly looked confident each time it gets an opportunity. They were scoreless in six chances, but the amount of opportunities coming from this group has to be encouraging for Todd Richards and his coaching staff.
Ok, let's get right to it...here are my post-game thoughts from tonight's loss in Denver:
1. Bring the intensity from the drop of the puck: Listening to the players post-game, you could tell they're keenly aware of what's ailing them right now. It's simply a matter of "doing" rather than "thinking," though some things are easier said than done. The Blue Jackets don't have a motor problem right now -- it's just a timing problem. We've seen (in these first four games) varying points where Columbus really gets its game going....now they need to find a way to get it going on time.
2. Simply put, cash it in: This may be a totally different conversation if the Blue Jackets buried some of the big-time chances they've had in recent games, but neither the puck-luck or the finish has been there of late. They've scored one goal in their last two games (0-2-0) after scoring five in their first two (1-0-1). Still, it's very early in the season and there's time to right the miscues and get back on track. When one puck goes in, the confidence usually explodes and the grip on the stick seems to loosen.
3. Forget about it: Once the time to decompress on the flight home passes and a new day dawns, the Blue Jackets have to look ahead and see what's on their plate -- and that's a lot of home games in the near future. They'll go to Minnesota next Tuesday, and then play the next six straight at Nationwide Arena from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13, their second-longest home stretch of the season. If there was ever a time to forget about these past couple of games, it would be now. There's a favorable schedule ahead with little travel, so the Blue Jackets have to re-charge and get rested for an important set of games.