Boston Bruins (24-7-10, 58 points, 1st Atlantic, 2nd Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (18-14-8, 44 points, 6th Metro, 10th Eastern)
Well, it’ll be interesting to see how the Jackets plan to top Tuesday’s game.
The CBJ are coming off an unprecedented (by me, at least) 4-1 win over Sergei Bobrovsky (and, less importantly, the rest of the Florida Panthers lineup) in which Elvis Merzlikins FINALLY 1. got his first home start and 2. his first NHL win... also Zach Werenski scored a hat trick, marking his third, fourth and fifth NYE goals in the last two years and being the first CBJ defenseman to score a hat trick since 2006.
No big deal, right?
Even more interesting is the larger picture, in which the Jackets currently hold the longest point streak in the NHL at 11 games, despite the roster being decimated by injury. Here’s a tweet to put it all into perspective:
To summarize:#CBJ have the most players (11) and most salary ($28 million-plus cap hit) out of the lineup with injuries, yet they have the longest active point streak (11, 7-0-4) in the #NHL.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 1, 2020
Makes perfect sense, right?
Nobody ever said hockey made sense! And if they did say that, they must not be familiar with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
So, after establishing the context under which the Jackets are playing in Boston tonight, it’s time to speculate: how will the Jackets injury-riddled, odds-defying squad hold up against the 1st placed team in the Eastern Conference?
Player to watch:
Well, I’m going to go ahead and say the obvious, for a second game in a row: Elvis Merzlikins. After being put in a lot of crappy situations (and, to be fair, letting in some crappy goals) in his meager number of on-ice appearances thus far this season, he absolutely proved everyone wrong on Tuesday night — he’s not a bad luck charm, as some of the more superstitious fans have asserted — he just hadn’t been given a solid chance yet. With Joonas Korpisalo out the next 4-6 weeks recovering from a torn meniscus, Elvis will have plenty of upcoming chances to further prove his worth to this team.
We’re already well aware of the injured team members that are about to outnumber the healthy players, so I’ll say this: The NHL went ahead and slapped John Tortorella with a $20,000 fines for his righteous outburst against the referees on Sunday’s home game against the Blackhawks. Interestingly enough, he’s also been hit with a “conditional” fine of $25,000 valid through Dec. 29, 2020 in the instance of another similar outburst taking place. Ah, Torts.
The Other Bench:
David Pastrnak, Tukka Rask, and Tyler Bertuzzi will be heading to the All Star Game later this month, and Patrice Bergeron is in contention for the Last Man In vote. Noticeably missing from this lineup is the team’s high-performer Brad Marchand, who Boston fans say was snubbed and I say was a fair dose of karma. It’s cool to be good at hockey but when you are a well-known jerk, it’s hard to feel bad!
Another thing worth mentioning but that I have a hard time feeling sympathy towards given CBJ’s situation is that Boston is dealing with some notable injuries right now too. Click here to check out their current IR list.
1/2/2020 CBJ @ BOS
1/14/2020 BOS @ CBJ
3/16/2020 CBJ @ BOS
|3.37 (8)||GPG||2.63 (26)|
|2.41 (1)||GAPG||2.75 (7)|
|26.9% (3)||PP%||17.3% (23)|
|85.2% (2)||PK%||81.1% (15)|
|49.7% (18)||5v5 Corsi %||50.2% (13)|
|49.3% (18)||5v5 Fenwick %||52.5% (7)|
|9.2 (6)||5v5 Shot %||6.7 (28)|
|.932 (3)||5v5 Save %||.925 (19)|
|David Pastrnak, 29||G Leader||Pierre-Luc Dubois, 13|
|Brad Marchand, 39||A Leader||Gustav Nyquist, 19|
|Brad Marchand, 59||P Leader||Gustav Nyquist, 28|
|Brad Marchand, 47||PIM Leader||Nick Foligno, 41|
|14-1-8||Home / Road||6-6-6|
|Nick Foligno||Boone Jenner||Gustav Nyquist|
|Nathan Gerbe||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Kevin Stenlund|
|Jakob Lilja||Riley Nash||Ryan MacInnis|
|Justin Scott||Alexander Wennberg||Eric Robinson|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Vladislav Gavrikov||David Savard|
|Gabriel Carlsson||Dean Kukan|
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Anders Bjork||Charlie Coyle||Brett Richie|
|Jake DeBrusk||Par Lindholm||David Backes|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Sean Kuraly||Chris Wagner|
|Zdeno Chara||Brandon Carlo|
|Jeremy Lauzon||Matt Grzelcyk|
|John Moore||Steve Kampfer|