Blue Jackets watch as Isles skate away with win
Columbus, Ohio — It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Blue Jackets. They were supposed to be bouncing back with determination after being run out of Toronto in a 5-2 loss the night before. Instead, they were blown out by a much faster New York Islanders team to the tune of a 5-2 loss for the second time in as many nights.
They hadn’t lost back-to-back games since November 28-29 against the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators, respectively.
"They were skating and moving," said head coach Todd Richards in a moment of candor, "and we were watching. It’s a credit to their team, because they are a fast team. We didn’t execute well and spent too much time in our own zone."
It didn’t take but 31 seconds for the Islanders to hem the Blue Jackets in their own zone and find the back of the net. And really, it was all downhill from there. They were a step slow all night, which allowed New York to complete rushes and pounce whenever they felt like doing so.
The irony of this evening was that it started with so much promise. One hour before the puck dropped, the rosters were announced for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25. Nick Foligno, Ryan Johansen and Sergei Bobrovsky were selected to represent Columbus, the first time the franchise has had multiple payers selected for the event.
Bobrovsky kept them in the game through the first frame, where it was tied 1-1. But with the Blue Jackets only putting four shots on goal in the first twenty minutes, they didn’t seize that chance. It took them the better part of 38 minutes to get to double-digits on the shot counter. You won’t win many hockey games like that.
"I don’t know what the reason for it is," said Foligno, "it’s frustrating to play like that. We know we didn’t play our best in Toronto and then to come out here and not have the start we wanted. They took over in the second."
The Islanders lit them up for three unanswered goals in the second stanza to push the score to 4-1. Not only was Columbus chasing the game, they were chasing the play all over the ice.
"We’ve got to find a way to play within our structure again," Foligno said. "We’re not playing or executing as a team. That’s the reason that teams are picking us apart right now."
The teams would trade goals in the third period to reach the final outcome.
Another bright spot on the evening was Foligno getting goal No. 18 on the season, tying his career high set last season in 70 games. He’s managed to put up 18 goals in just 39 games this season, with half of the season still to be played.
They have Sunday as a day off before returning to practice Monday in advance of the Montreal Canadiens paying a visit Wednesday. They have time to rest and recuperate, as Wednesday’s game marks the halfway point of the season for them. Move their legs and play their game has to be their mantra moving forward.
As Kurt Russell (playing Herb Brooks in the movie "Miracle") said, "The legs feed the wolf." The Blue Jackets need to lay out a four-course meal for that animal if they hope to climb back up the standings.