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What We Learned: PIT 4, CBJ 1

The Blue Jackets offensive struggles continue in the loss to Penguins

by Alison Lukan @AlisonL / BlueJackets.com

Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh was one where the Jackets got all of the shots and none of the bounces as they lost 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins win keeps them in second place in the Metro Division with a three-point lead over the Jackets.

The Jackets outshot the Penguins 39 to 27 and out attempted them 70-43. They also had the shot attempt advantage in 5-on-5 play with 66.67% of all attempts in the game.

Tuesday marks the third game in a row that the Jackets have out shot and out attempted their opponent. Even when shot totals are adjusted for score and venue, according to naturalstattrick.com, the Jackets have 51% or more of all shot attempts in each of the last four games at even strength.

The Jackets just haven't been able to find the back of the net.

The Penguins, on the other hand, did. They scored by capitalizing on an errant Jackets' pass; an odd-man rush set off by a blocked shot; and then banked a puck in off Cam Atkinson's skate. They also added a fourth goal to start the third. 

Brandon Dubinsky ended the Penguins' shutout bid 10:20 into the third. While on the penalty kill, the assistant captain got the puck on his stick, looked up, saw open ice and skated into the zone before beating Matt Murray five-hole. It was the tenth short-handed goal of Dubinsky's career.

"We're out of sync offensively and we're lacking execution," John Tortorella said. "I didn't mind our effort at all. I thought our physical play was there but we're in a funk offensively and tonight didn't get any better. I looked at some offensive plays that are right there. We just haven't been able to make a lot of good offensive plays right now."

After Tuesday's game, If the standings remain as they are, the Penguins are likely to host the Jackets in the opening round of the playoffs.

Here's what we learned.

Video: Dubi on what the team can learn from tonight

"This one's on us."

With three games left to play in the regular season, Nick Foligno said the Jackets know there's some urgency to these final games. That might be the best motivator for them to re-find their offensive production. This team knows that it's time to step up and start converting some of the many chances they are getting into scores.

"We've just got to keep working, do the right things and play the right way," Dubinsky said. "We need to trust the process. Trust our physical play and the forecheck. Hopefully that will lead to turnovers and opportunities. We just have to play better that way. It wasn't good enough from us tonight.

"We got to get a lot better. This one's on us tonight."

Don't chip down.

This season the Jackets have faced down a lot of clichés. They had to prove that they were not going to suffer a post-winning streak slump. Then they had to prove they wouldn't suffer a post-bye week loss. This team found a way to answer those calls. Now, they need to fight through the realities of clinching a playoff spot with 11 games left.

"We have chipped down a bit," John Tortorella said. "These are things you have to fight when you clinch so early. A lot of these guys have never been involved in these situations when you clinch. You lose a little bit. You can't get too far down that road.

"It's when the intensity isn't totally there because you know you're in. It happens. It happens to all teams. I just want these guys to work through these next games and try to find their game and play the right way."

Distributing defense.

With Zach Werenski out of the lineup, the Jackets defense showed some new pairings throughout Tuesday's game. Seth Jones saw time with Markus Nutivaara, Kyle Quincey and Scott Harrington. After starting the night apart, David Savard and Jack Johnson were reunited for the final two periods.

The coaching staff will likely be looking to find the best possible combinations that can continue staying true to their defensive responsibilities.

"(With Werenski out), that's 23-24 pretty important minutes that we're trying to find what we can do with," Tortorella said. "We'll look at the tape see what we feel and go from there."

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