PREVIEW: Blue Jackets have chance to come back straight away against Rangers
We won’t dwell too much on the details of Wednesday night’s loss to Calgary, but there are some pretty notable developments to take from it.
The 6-0 loss to the Flames at Nationwide Arena featured Calgary’s 62 shots on goal, the most in an NHL regular season game since 1991 and the second most in a regulation game in all 40 last years. It also follows that it was the most the Blue Jackets had ever allowed in a regular season game, beating the previous mark by seven, and the Flames also had a sizable 5-to-5 advantage in shot attempts ( 75-38), scoring chances (34-13) and expected goals (3.84-1.01) at 5v5 by Natural Stat Trick.
There wasn’t much to say after the game for head coach Brad Larsen other than the obvious.
“We were completely outplayed,” he said. “You don’t have to dissect that. They were the better team. It wasn’t even close. They had the puck all night. That’s the only observation you have to see. I think everyone saw it. We weren’t nearly good enough. There’s nothing more to say at this point.
The next question is why this has happened enough times to be a concerning trend for the Blue Jackets. There had already been two embarrassing losses the team had suffered this month, a 7-4 defeat on New Years Day in which the Blue Jackets allowed seven straight goals to cap the game as well as a final of 9-2 in Florida on January 16. it looked like a low point for the campaign.
But on the other hand, there have been some impressive performances throughout the season, including the 6-0 win over Carolina two days before the game against Florida and back-to-back wins over Colorado early in the campaign. . Even Friday night’s 5-2 loss to a contending Pittsburgh side was filled with far more energy than last night’s loss, leaving the defender Zach Werensky concerned about the top-down nature of the team.
“There are going to be inconsistencies over the course of a season,” he said. “I just think the gaps are too big. We can play a really good game and then play a really bad game, so there’s no real middle ground in that. It’s kind of the one or the other, and it’s frustrating It’s one thing to lose hockey games The game against Pittsburgh, we don’t get the result we want, but I think we fought hard this game .
“Tonight there is no life on the bench. It’s one of those frustrating losses. We know we can play with any team in the league. It’s just that the gaps are too much. great between our good and our bad games.”
For the Blue Jackets, however, it’s only one game, and the good news is there’s a chance 24 hours later to return tonight against Rangers.
“Shake this one and get ready to go”, Max Domi noted. “He’s a strong opponent tomorrow. Learn from tonight and get ready to go.”
know the enemy
The rebuilding of the Rangers – overseen in part by John Davidson, current director of hockey operations for the Blue Jackets – has already borne much fruit.
New York made the playoffs seven consecutive seasons from 2011 to 2017, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014, but the team pledged to tear it down and rebuild it after that core reached the end of its life. race. What followed was four straight seasons without a Stanley Cup playoff spot, and people weren’t quite sure what to make of the Rangers this season.
But while the team is past the halfway mark, New York leads the Metropolitan Division. While many expected Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko to lead the charge, it was instead the continued maturation of Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, the brilliance of Artemi Panarin and the breakouts of Adam Fox and Igor Shesterkin that led the team back to center stage.
While some might say it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors – per Natural Stat Trick the Rangers are last in the NHL in shot attempt percentage, scoring chance percentage, expected goal percentage at 5-5 – it’s hard to argue with a team that’s tied for third in the league in wins. It also helps to be 13-3-4 in one-goal games, tied for the most wins in the NHL by that stat.
The Rangers used excellent goaltenders to rank third in the NHL in goals against (2.54 per game) and fifth in shorthandedness (84.1%), while the ninth-best power play in the NHL (24.6%) also helped an offense ranked 14th in the league (3.00 goals per game).
On the scoring side, four players are above 40 points this season, which puts them in the NHL’s top 25. Fox leads with a line of 7-39-46, which ranks him first among NHL defensemen in assists and points, while Panarin is not far behind with 11 goals and 34 assists for 45. points. Kreider’s 30 goals make him the first NHL player to reach the mark this season (he has 43 total points), while Zibanejad adds a 15-27-42 line.
Meanwhile, Shesterkin has been excellent in net, leading the NHL in goals saved above expectations (23.4) and goals saved above expectations per 60 minutes (.930) as well as save percentage. saves (.937) while going 20-4-2 with a 2.08 GAA. Replacement Alexandar Georgiev is 7-6-2 with a 2.92 GAA and .902 save percentage.