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What We Learned: WSH 5, CBJ 0

Blue Jackets' historic streaks come to an end at Verizon Center

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

So the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end."

Tonight's 5-0 loss wasn't the outcome the Blue Jackets hoped for going into tonight's Metro Division clash with the Washington Capitals. It halted Columbus' winning streak at 16 consecutive games, one shy of tying the NHL record (17), and ended the team's franchise-best point streak (17).

From John Tortorella's perspective, the game started strong for the Blue Jackets. He was pleased with the first 25-30 minutes of play, but despite carrying play, they ran into a solid Braden Holtby in net, who turned away all 29 Columbus shots.

But for a team that has had to call upon a different element of play any given night to provide the keys to a win, the Blue Jackets couldn't find any cylinder that would fire when they needed it to tonight.

"I think our power play deflated us a bit tonight," Tortorella said. "We weren't sharp on it. They get a couple of (shorthanded) scoring chances, Bob makes a couple of great saves, but I think it went downhill from there."

As the Jackets strayed from their style of play, the game got away from them. But the tide has turned as far as the energy of the team, and the task at hand is to keep perspective that this is one game in an 82-game season.

"I trust the team," Tortorella said. "I think they have a dynamic in that room. They don't hope they're going to win, they know they're going to win. We know we're a good hockey club. No one game is going to deter how we feel about ourselves.

"I'm excited they had the opportunity," Tortorella said. "To enjoy this part of it. Now we go back to work and leave this alone."

Video: Torts reflects on the Jackets' 16-game win streak

There's no time to dwell on this game. The Blue Jackets return home for a weekend doubleheader against two more divisional opponents; the New York Rangers are in town for Saturday's game fresh off a win over the team that will be on the other end of the ice on Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Here's what we learned:

THERE'S WORK TO DO: Tortorella has been vocal about the benefits of flying under the radar for a young team building its identity. With the increased scrutiny of being the No. 1 team in the league riding a season-high winning streak and chasing down history, elements of the Blue Jackets' game has come under the microscope and they got caught a bit tonight.

The league's best power play went an uncharacteristic 0-for-5 tonight. The Capitals disrupted the Blue Jackets special teams even before they entered the offensive zone by playing aggressively and breaking up the transition game.

"You get a lot of extra attention when you're in the position we are," Scott Hartnell said. "On the power play, Washington stifled us. We could only generate some chances and the chances we did have, Holtby was there."

Video: Foligno looks back on the Jackets' winning streak

CONSISTENT MATTERS: The first half of the game wasn't the problem for Tortorella or the team. The Blue Jackets were in it even through the start of the second, down 2-0, and continued to pelt Holtby with shot after shot but after those first 30 minutes, according to the head coach, the team "lost themselves."

 

The Jackets let in three more goals in the back half of the game and their ability to generate offense also sputtered. Through two periods, Columbus levied 21 shots and 36 attempts against Washington but could only muster 8 shots and 14 attempts in the final frame.

"It's how we go about our business and how we play the game," Nick Foligno said. "All year long that's been our bread and butter, we have played a consistent, solid game and it got away from us tonight."

A TEACHING MOMENT: For one of the youngest teams in the league, this 17-game stretch has provided a unique opportunity for the team to experience high-pressure games and the impact of national media taking note.

Tortorella and his team are hoping that learning how to deal with those types of situations now will pay off come postseason play if they are fortunate enough to make it to the playoffs.

"We're just under halfway through the season," Boone Jenner said. "There's going to be a lot of big games coming up. It's good for us to get a taste of a big game like that with the pressure of what everyone built it up to be."

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