A tough one tonight at the Shark Tank.
The Blue Jackets were fast and aggressive at times (but not for long enough) and got timely saves from Sergei Bobrovsky in this game against the San Jose Sharks. They made a few mistakes, but for the most part, they played solid and kept the game under control against an equally fast and aggressive team that penalizes opponents for their mistakes.
For a game that had a little bit of everything, it also registered pretty high on the "weird" scale. The Blue Jackets were down 1-0 early (yielding a rare power play goal), hung around before the second period was abruptly ended with 2:42 left when the power went off, and then won a coach's challenge in the third period to take a second Sharks goal off the board.
Minutes after the goal was washed out due to an offside play, San Jose regained a 2-0 lead on a power play goal - which was enough to get the job done against a Blue Jackets team that, despite pulling within a goal late in regulation, struggled to sustain offensive pressure.
Here's what we learned from the sixth game of 82:
1. Special teams look human: Seth Jones called the Blue Jackets' special teams "average" tonight, and to be fair, it's a pretty high bar after how they've started the season. The power play got an early opportunity in the opening 90 seconds and went 0-fer on the night, and the penalty kill was dented twice. John Tortorella summarized it thusly: "It's two teams that have some chances on the power play - they score, and we don't," he said.
2. Line juggling doesn't produce offense: Boone Jenner jumped up with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson, Matt Calvert joined William Karlsson and Josh Anderson. The Blue Jackets had some early looks but haven't gotten much 5-on-5 offense so far, and it's putting added stress on the defense and goaltending. Sergei Bobrovsky was very good in this game and kept it within striking distance. Tortorella on his team's inability to create chances: "We have not been consistent enough with our offensive forecheck and having the puck offensively," he said. "Do I think we played poorly? No. We're just not sustaining enough offense. We don't have enough offensive guys going right now."
3. Keep the speed: It starts in the defensive zone, where the Blue Jackets are going back for pucks and breaking out cleaner. They're making quicker plays in the neutral zone and carrying the puck into the offensive zone more frequently, and on the whole, it's leading to a faster and more direct style of play. It's only six games, but so far, we've learned this team can play an uptempo game and put pressure on opponents - they just need to do so with more consistency.