On Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets handed Carolina their third home loss of the season. On Saturday, the Columbus Blue Jackets handed Carolina their fourth home loss of the season. Sure, both took extra time - but the four points count the same in the standings and the Jackets have drawn even with the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth playoff spot.
Elvis Merzlikins made several outstanding saves, including an absolute beauty in overtime. Oliver Bjorkstrand continues to be the best scoring forward on the team, Seth Jones keeps scoring goals - set up by a great pass from Patrik Laine. The CBJ won 3-2 (SO).
That might actually be most of your detail — the game didn’t have much going on the first couple of periods. I’ll squeeze out a few more words, though.
Elvis was in net. Kevin Stenlund centered the 1st line with Laine and...Nick Foligno. Bjorkstrand checks in on...the third line. With Boone Jenner and Riley Nash. Top scorer on the team. On the third line. Best forward on the team. On the third line. Aight.
Early in the period, David Savard was called for an interference penalty. Rimer let us know that Carolina is 50%(!!!) on the power play against Columbus this season. That does not seem good. However, Riley Nash might have had the best scoring chance on special teams and the penalty kill kept Carolina off the scoreboard.
Hockey was played this period, it just wasn’t anything interesting to write about.
Carolina had 10 SOG and Columbus had 9 SOG
The first 14 minutes of the period went by pretty snoozily. Lots of back and forth play, but nothing exciting. Patrik Laine drew Jody Shelley’s ire by passing on a 2 on 1 instead of shooting. I didn’t think Laine had much of a shooting lane — but he had even less of a passing lane. Carolina played that well.
Laine also drew a penalty. The power play didn’t do anything — and the dreaded drop pass entry play was back in the picture. That’s sad.
With under 6 minutes to go, Carolina got pressure in front of Elvis and created a bit of a scrum. Elvis made a couple of saves, but the last led to a rebound that landed right in front of Andrei Svechnikov for an easy tap in goal. Most notable here is that Svechnikov was practically standing in the crease between the net and 2 or 3 Blue Jacket skaters. Not the best box out, but the play was a scramble at that point.
Carolina led 1-0 at the end of two periods. Carolina had 21 SOG and Columbus had 20 SOG.
Torts realized that having Bjorkstrand on the third line was not one of his better ideas, so Oliver started the period with Laine and Stenlund. On their first shift, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a goal. This seemed apt.
We’ll take it ♂️— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 21, 2021
That clip doesn’t show an extensive board battle with Bjorkstrand and Kevin Stenlund doing work for the boys in Blue. Bjorkstrand banked that goal in off Dougie Hamilton. The game was 1-1.
The CBJ earned a power play, but no goals were scored about 6 minutes into the period.
The period continued with lots of back and forth play, but...again, nothing exciting to write about. I could pile on Cam for missing an open net, but I won’t.
In the 15th minute of the period, Carolina again created a lot of pressure in front of Elvis, who made two saves. The second was a stick save that created a big rebound to Elvis’ left. A Carolina player was able to one-time the rebound, which hit off a Jackets skater, and bounced well to the right of Elvis who was unable to get back to the post in time. Warren Foegel won a footrace and stickrace against Boone Jenner and knocked the puck in to give Carolina the 2-1 lead. Elvis gave up a heck of a rebound in this sequence, but puck luck gets the lion’s share of the blame for this goal, imo.
The Jackets went to the empty net in hopes of tying the game up. Patrik Laine lost his stick briefly, but the stick deflected off of Jack Roslovic’s stick and back into Laine’s hands. Very fortuitous. A few seconds later, Laine got the puck and slung it cross-ice for Seth Jones who took a stride and went top-shelf over a screened James Reimer to tie the game up with 23 seconds left!
I’d put a link to the goal here, but not even the Blue Jackets twitter account managed to put a clip up of the goal.
The game headed to overtime!
OUR GOALIES ARE ELITE— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 21, 2021
Carolina also thought they scored a goal but the Hurricanes are dirty cheaters and were offsides by a foot! Toronto rightfully waived off this nefarious attempt at stealing a point.
There was also a penalty in OT - Seth Jones went to the box for a stick tap to the side of a helmet. Some things of interest here:
- Vladislav Gavrikov and David Savard are clearly Torts’ go-to defensive defensemen. They played the entirety of the penalty kill — briefly together (when Carolina faux scored) and then alternating.
- After the PK ended, the rest of OT was 4 on 4 as there were no stoppages of play.
Cam Atkinson still only has one shoot-out move. It was saved.
Max Domi missed the net.
Patrik Laine whistled one past Reimer to tie up the shoot out.
Oliver Bjorkstrand shut it down with his own wrister.
Columbus wins 3-2 in the skills competition.
- James Reimer gave up a metric eff-ton of rebounds. So many rebounds. Yet he lucked out as many of those rebounds were almost impossible for any Jacket to get to. I counted 4 that went straight up into the air.
- Max Domi has really upped his play lately. One clearly notable positive today - he shoots the puck without much hesitation. I was going to say without thinking, but he doesn’t just fling it at the net.
- Elvis Merzlikins has a shiny goalie mask. I like it.
- Columbus is in 4th place over Chicago right now. Chicago has more total wins, fewer regulation wins, but more regulation and overtime wins. Both teams have played 32 games. So... RW trumps total wins? Doesn’t seem quite right.
- The Jackets continue playing the Hurricanes, but the next two games will be in Columbus. Hope some of you can go out safely and enjoy that game live.