If there's one thing to be learned about this Blue Jackets team through two games (and we must be cognizant of jumping to conclusions), we've seen that they will work their tails off.
After a 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings tonight inside an electric Nationwide Arena, there's much to be dissected and analyze before moving on to the next game Wednesday night in Phoenix. Here's the debrief: the Blue Jackets were sluggish out of the gate and gave Detroit too many power play chances, and provided a hungry team with just the boost it needed...
But they answered back. Two goals in the second period could have been an end-all-be-all in previous years, but these Blue Jackets looked a 2-0 deficit right in the face and turned the other cheek. When the Red Wings gave them opportunities on the man advantage, the Blue Jackets pounced on them and turned a two-goal deficit into a 3-2 lead with about half the third period left to be played.
Is there anything to take from a three-point opening stretch against two of the Western Conference's better clubs? Possibly, but the players aren't going to say they're happy with the result. They knew the Red Wings gave them a chance to win the game, and they were disappointed to not come out of tonight with the full two points.
Here are three main thoughts after tonight's game:
1. Slow starts have to stop: Now, I know Detroit came into this game looking to make amends for that 6-0 blowout in St. Louis, but by no means were they dominant in the first period. Sergei Bobrovsky made a few spectacular stops to keep the Red Wings off the board and make sure this wasn't a runaway in the opening 20 minutes, so he deserves some credit there. But the way the Blue Jackets played in the second and third periods (both in Nashville and tonight) needs to be the standard going forward. Allowing the Red Wings to put 42 pucks on goal is far too many, and it puts too much pressure on Bobrovsky and the defense.
2. Power play is clicking: This is one thing I wasn't too sure about heading into the season, but I'm pleased to see that the Blue Jackets are one confident group with the man advantage. You can see it in their body language; they have five guys who want the puck on their sticks and want to make big plays for the team. The attitude is infectious and it's pure gold for player development, and having options at every position on the ice is a great way to build a consistently good power play unit. Wisniewski, Johnson, Tyutin, Nikitin and even Aucoin...all these guys can bomb the puck from the point and make things happen.
3. Don't quit mentality: I started to sense this in the third period against Nashville, but boy, it was out in spades tonight. These Blue Jackets have a collective attitude that seems to repel any notion of adversity. Down 2-0 to the Red Wings? No problem. They waited for their chance and made it count. That's the mark of a team with confidence, and one that's not going to step outside its structure to get something back all in one shift. They're far from perfect, but their work ethic is going to be what carries them through rough patches and mute their imperfections.
Stay tuned to BlueJackets.com and the CBJ Today for more post-game coverage.