With the up-and-down nature of his team's play lately, John Tortorella was asked pre-game if their readiness for this game concerned him.
"That's always a concern," he said.
And after a string of fast, aggressive early shifts in the first period, it appeared as though the Blue Jackets were ready to play this game. But the energy quickly tapered and they got lulled into exactly what the Vancouver Canucks wanted: a safe road game without many quality chances.
After a scoreless first period, the Canucks scored twice in the second period and took a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. The Blue Jackets, at that point, were by no means out of the game, but they were nowhere near tenacious enough around the net and didn't give much trouble to Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller. The scoresheet will tell you that Miller made 33 saves on the night, but the Blue Jackets had next to nothing in terms of second chances or high-danger opportunities in a 3-0 loss at Nationwide Arena - a less than ideal start to a long stretch of games on home ice.
"I thought the first three shifts were really good shifts," Tortorella said. "Then, we just didn't play well. There was zero emotion within the game, for what reason I don't know. Nothing happens right if you don't play the game with emotion, and we've got to figure that out."
Video: Torts' after Blue Jackets' shutout loss tonight
Here's what we learned:
A GOOD START FADES: For whatever reason, the Blue Jackets (of late) have lacked the energy and speed out of the gate that gave teams trouble earlier in the season. Especially at home ice and in the opener of a seven-game home stand, it was reasonable to expect a better start in a game like this. There was some speed and aggressiveness on the first few shifts, but unlike Tuesday in Detroit, the Blue Jackets never seemed to get their footing in this game. Their forechecking was a step behind and they didn't create many turnovers, and it didn't help that when they had zone time, they were guilty of one-and-done chances off the rush.
Video: Foligno on where the CBJ struggled tonight
"We just have to solve a problem here as far as where our consistency is and our attachment to a game," Tortorella said. "I thought we had a good showing against Detroit and it kind of made me feel better about the team…but to go back to this in our building again, it's frustrating. We're going to have to get together as a team and solve that problem."
NOTHING AT THE NET: Miller is a good goaltender and has been for a while, but the Blue Jackets gave him a fairly pedestrian night between the pipes. Even when they had time and space to create offense (they did have two power plays in the game, but obviously they were unsuccessful), they were sloppy with pucks and just weren't sharp in areas we've seen them be sharp so often previously.
Video: Cam on a missed opportunity tonight at home
They'll re-group now, practice Friday outdoors at Winter Park, and get ready to face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.