Straight Jackets: Home ice disadvantage?

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive

The date the last Straight Jackets hit the streets, your Columbus Blue Jackets won an overtime game in Philadelphia. Since then, the team has played five straight games at home, and will play another against New Jersey on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Six in a row at home. Just the cure for the up-and-down, non-momentum sickness that has plagued the team through an otherwise successful first third of the season, right? Solidify that playoff position, right? Establish your club as a legit Cup contender, right? Most of all, give the home crowds something to cheer, right?

Instead, results have been as mixed as opinions on the ticket tax passed earlier this month by City Council (that will, in part, help fund improvements to the arena, which might entice more fans but not as much as winning some more freaking home games would).

In other words, more of the same.

CBJ vs. Washington Capitals, Dec. 8

With first place in the Metropolitan Division on the line, and a revenge game for last year's playoff loss (in fairness, the Jackets had knocked off the Caps in Washington earlier in the season), the good guys looked spiritless in a 4-0 loss. Lots not to like about this one, but the defense, even Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, is struggling.

CBJ vs. Vancouver Canucks, Dec. 11

Two late goals by the visitors sucked the life out of the building and send the Jackets to their second straight home loss, this one by a 3-2 score. Backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo played well until that stretch in the third.

CBJ vs. Los Angeles Kings, Dec. 13

The Jackets did what they should have in a 4-1 win over a weakened opponent. The offense looked good. But is the defense fixed? Same question for goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

CBJ vs. Anaheim Ducks, Dec. 15

A 2-1 overtime loss. Generally strong play earns a point but answers absolutely none of the nagging questions. Jackets carried the play but rarely seemed dangerous.

CBJ vs. Vegas Golden Knights, Dec. 17

A win is a win, but this was a sleepy affair. At least it's a third straight game giving up just one goal in regulation.

When your team doesn't do anything consistently well (or poorly), it's hard to get a read on what to expect game-to-game. Whether this recent stretch of improved defensive play is the result of Head Coach John Tortorella reversing his decision to have his assistant coaches, Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw, swap duties, whether the guys are just starting to “get it,” or whatever, I'm hoping it's a sign that there is something here on which fans can hang their knit caps during this confounding season.