Aftermath No. 13: Pittsburgh

Saturday, 11.02.2013 / 10:00 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com



This is one of those weekends where you're glad it's over and can turn the page to the next week...and quickly.

The Blue Jackets didn't have their best in the two-game home-and-home series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which concluded tonight with a 3-0 loss at Nationwide Arena. It was an energetic game to start, a rocking building and a fantastic atmosphere, and something that the Jackets would have loved to have capitalized on. But the same old problem reared its ugly head - they just couldn't cash in.

Jeff Zatkoff was making his third NHL start and wasn't tested nearly enough. Many of his saves were routine and he never appeared out of control, and he was aided by some serious shot-blocking by the guys in front of him. At the other end, McElhinney did a fine job between the pipes for the Blue Jackets but he didn't receive much help. 

McElhinney gave up a point-blank goal to Deryk Engelland (on a delayed penalty), an own-goal off the stick of Blake Comeau, and that was it. Brandon Dubinsky, who was visibly upset and frustrated post-game, was pretty blunt (and accurate, mind you) that the own goal doesn't really matter because the Blue Jackets didn't score a goal. 

Much like they did after a four-game skid earlier in the season, the Blue Jackets have to pick themselves up and re-group before they begin a three home game week that starts Tuesday night against Ottawa. 

Here are some random thoughts, notes and observations...

- A big reason why the Penguins had so much success in front of Zatkoff was due to their defensive zone play; they make quick exits and don't spend a lot of time in their own zone, making it physically taxing for the opposition to get one chance, and then get on their horse to back check. They do that to a lot of teams and you can see it wear teams down.

- In his first game since Oct. 19, Nikitin played fairly well. He logged just 12:19, though, which is low for a top-four guy like he's been in the past for the Jackets. He was one of three Columbus defensemen (Tyutin, Prout the others) to avoid a minus rating tonight. 

- The Penguins owned the face-off battle this weekend, winning over 50 percent on Friday night and 55 percent tonight in Columbus. Sidney Crosby led the charge, winning 15-of-22 draws (68 percent) and Dubinsky went 8-for-16 for the Blue Jackets. 

- Derek MacKenzie leads the Jackets with 37 hits on the season. While that's one of the mysteriously-kept stats in hockey (what's a hit, really?), it speaks to the physical presence he brings every single night. The fourth line might not play a lot of minutes, but those guys are a hard-hitting bunch that always finishes its checks.

- The Jackets are 5-8-3 all-time against the Penguins, but on a larger scale, are 24-13-5 in their last 42 games (equate to just over a half-season). Columbus dropped to 3-2-3 all-time against Pittsburgh at Nationwide Arena.

- Off day for the Blue Jackets on Sunday. Enjoy it, rest up, and we'll see you right back here on Monday when practice resumes at 10:30 a.m.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 2 2 1 0 3
M. Calvert 2 2 0 3 2
R. Johansen 2 1 1 -1 2
B. Dubinsky 2 0 2 0 2
D. Savard 2 0 2 1 2
B. Jenner 2 0 2 -1 2
D. MacKenzie 2 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 2 1 0 1 1
A. Anisimov 2 0 1 -1 1
C. Atkinson 2 0 1 1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 1 1 0 .905 3.00
 
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