The Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Nashville Predators in the second part of this set. A very good day by Elvis Merzlikins and a brief flash of unexpected offense was wiped away by an injury to Elvis, a lack of sustained offense, and poor defensive play. Nashville wins the game 4-2. Here are your details:
The period started off quickly with both teams sending several pucks on the net making both goalies work. In the first 5 minutes of play, the teams combined for 10 SOG — including 4 for Columbus. The Jackets would add a 5th SOG in the 6th minute and then...ONE more shot on net the entirety of the period.
Even without a lot of shooting going on, there were positive signs from the Jackets. Elvis looked sharp, Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine showed a nice give and go familiarity, and Gabriel Carlsson and Scott Harrington didn’t immediately look like a train wreck.
Halfway through the period, Michael Del Zotto makes a silly play and is called for interference. The penalty kill almost came through, but with a few seconds left, a scramble in front with too many CBJ skaters leaving their skates led to a goal by Calle Jarnkrok from Ryan Ellis. After that score, Nashville maintained momentum and the puck. The Predators managed to get TWO skaters into the crease with Colton Sissons deflecting a pass from the corner for another goal just minutes after the first. Luke Kunin and Yakov Trenin with the assists. Fun fact — when I checked NHL.com, they had assigned the first assist to Dean Kukan. No wonder that guy isn’t getting ice time.
With less than two minutes left, Eric Robinson draws a penalty on Matt Duchene. The power play does not score, but I did notice something interesting. Perhaps this isn’t new to you, but the drop pass was gone! Both power play units moved the puck into the zone directly without using the utterly predictable drop pass. Nice to see a change.
Nashville outshot Columbus 15 - 6 in the period.
The CBJ power play ends with a whimper and Nashville immediately goes on their own power play. Wait..no? That wasn’t a power play? I couldn’t tell! Luckily, Nashville didn’t do anything with their mastery of puck possession. Shortly thereafter, Seth Jones is called for a trip. As I was lamenting the loss of one of the better penalty killers on the team, the clouds parted...I thought I heard singing from above... and what might be the least likely combination of Blue Jackets ever combined for a shorthanded goal. Nick Foligno to Scott Harrington to Boone Jenner.
I didn’t think anyone but Cam Atkinson was allowed to score shorties.
How can that be topped?! Well, a couple of minutes later, Gabriel Carlsson raised Harry’s assist with a goal of his own — the first of his career — after a brilliant pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The two defenders that most of the fanbase trusts the least provide the biggest boost imaginable — they just do it on offense. Sidenote, this is my deal with Harrington. He seems to prefer to play offense to defense. He pinches a lot, comes up on the play, willing to shoot. Problem is he’s a defenseman and not always great in that role. Still, today his offense came up big.
Shortly after that, Nick Foligno fights Mark Borowiecki for no good reason whatsoever. Your team has tied the game, has momentum...and the captain of the team decides to do the Predators a favor? As we’d see, there were real reasons to fight someone later on — this was a poor call by Foligno, in my opinion. Especially when the Jackets go back on the penalty kill a few minutes later.
The CBJ offense returned to its slumber for the rest of the period. The highlights belonged to Elvis.
I believe the saying is “key saves at key times” pic.twitter.com/VIu62iFfXz— Alison (@AlisonL) February 21, 2021
“Siri, show me the definition of craziness…” pic.twitter.com/vCrIrwzvQ8— Alison (@AlisonL) February 21, 2021
The period ends with the game tied and the CBJ being badly outshot 33 - 16.
I didn’t like this period.
15 seconds in, the Jackets commit a terrible turnover in their own zone and Jarnkrok gets his second goal.
45 seconds in, Filip Forsberg blows through or past three Jackets to snipe one past Elvis from close range.
Both goals were unassisted.
Nashville had been crowding Elvis all game with little repercussion. Then, late in period, Viktor Arvidsson spears Elvis’ glove as Merzlikins covers the puck. While there was no body on body contact, the momentum turned Elvis over and the goalie stayed down. No one in Union Blue seemed to notice.
I’m really hoping that doesn’t turn out to be a rotator cuff injury. Those can be season-enders and don’t need a lot of force to happen. It can just take an arm wanting to go one way while it is being forced in another.
This is totally a fan opinion here - and in a day or two I might tell myself it’s a dumb opinion - but THIS is the kind of situation that should lead to a Nick Foligno fight. I know Josh Anderson is the last Blue Jacket to ever facewash someone, but come on! SOMEONE should have already warned the Predators to keep away from Elvis.
Anyway, the only other notable thing to occur is that Joonas Korpisalo tried to leave the net for the last two minutes of the game and couldn’t because the CBJ weren’t able to maintain possession.
Nashville wins 4-2. CBJ are almost doubled up on SOG.
- The Jackets put out a first line of 29 - 96 - 13, 3 - 44. Generally, the lines seemed fine — nothing outrageous — and they stayed intact for most of the game. Poor play can’t be blamed on the blender tonight.
- The reverse retro sweaters are just terrible. I like the socks though.
- The Jackets were called for three tripping penalties. Not all were good calls — Robinson’s was just a bad call. The sticks were active, but perhaps a bit overactive at times.
- The only notable line change occurred late in the game. Roslovic didn’t have a great game and found himself centering the 4th line briefly and then playing wing on the 3rd line. Max Domi centered the 1st line for awhile.
- This was the first game I really watched this team with a critical eye. I was not impressed.