It’s not a must-win game for the Blue Jackets tonight, the second game of a back-to-back against the Penguins, who are 3 points ahead of them in the standings, but it’s close. When these teams met two nights ago, the Jackets were shutout 3-0 in a game where they just couldn’t seem to stay out of the box, taking five penalties.
Going into the game there was some shock when it was announced Joonas Korpisalo would be playing over starter Sergei Bobrovsky but in the end, he played a great game stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced, finishing with a .933 save percentage and a -1.04 goals saved above average.
The key point here is the goals saved above average. Basically, Korpisalo saved his team 1.04 goals against compared to league average goaltending. Not a bad night for him.
For tonight’s game, it’ll be Bobrovsky back in net, who’s looked a lot better as of late, and he should be nice and rested after not even dressing as the backup on Thursday.
What really plagued the Jackets in their last game was a lack of execution. They were only able to put 37.7% of their shot attempts on net meaning that out of every five attempts they had less than two of them make it on net. The Penguins ended up with 24 blocked shots, exactly double the amount Columbus blocked, blocking 40% of the shots they faced at even-strength, much higher than their season average of 28% and the Islanders league-leading average of 32%. Not only that, Columbus was especially inaccurate from the slot where it only put 28% of their shot attempts on net or roughly two for every seven shots they attempted.
After the game, Nick Foligno said, “We’re just not scoring. We have to find a way because you’re not going to win a game unless you score a goal.”
If the Jackets are going to start scoring they need to find ways to get pucks to the net. It seems like a really simplistic way to go about it but at the end of the day, if you aren’t getting many of your high-quality shots through to the net, you’re going to struggle to score.
For Columbus to have a chance tonight, and avoid falling 5 points back of the Penguins, it will have to do a better job of executing on the chances it creates.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)