The Jackets are now 27 games into the season and they appear worse for the wear. Saturday night in the TD Garden they came out and competed hard for approximately 20 minutes on their way to an uninspiring 3-1 loss. The other 40 minutes was a mixture of poor execution and complete dominance by the Bruins. It’s no surprise that this was the end result in the game. The Bruins haven’t lost a home game since late October and have already established themselves as one of the elite teams in the league. What is disturbing is the lack of energy for such large chunks of the game for the Blue Jackets. The game went according to plan for Boston when Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring at 9:02 in the 1st period.
The Jackets played a sloppy and undisciplined game and were called for 9 penalties, including a game misconduct for Nick Foligno when he tried to goad Dennis Seidenberg into a fight in the 2nd period. In his defense, Seidenberg should have been in the penalty box long before that penalty on Foligno because of an elbow that the refs missed. Lucic added 2 more goals to make it 3-0 until Ryan Johansen scored at 6:16 of the 3rd to cut it to 3-1 and ultimately the final score.
To be fair, the Jackets are without 4 key parts of their offensive identity. Boll, Dubinsky and Gaborik are on injured reserve, and Nathan Horton’s return is a few weeks away. Boll has been out since the November 22 game against Vancouver with a bruised foot. Dubinsky was injured in the Edmonton game on November 19 and Gaborik has been out with a sprained knee since a November 14 OT loss to Boston. The return of Dubinsky and Boll seem to be coming any day now, but Gaborik is out for at least another 3-4 weeks and it’s hard to predict when Nathan Horton’s shoulder will be game ready. There are still 55 games remaining in the season and it’s far from a lost cause. What made last years team great and so easy to root for was their ability to handle adversity and overcome any obstacle.
At this point in the season the Jackets are only 5 points out of 8th place in the East, which means a 4 game winning streak could catapult them ahead of a lot of teams. Only time will tell the final fate for this team, but even with all of the losing and negativity right now, they still have plenty of time to right the ship and make this a season to remember.