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Game #51 Recap: Elvis wills Blue Jackets to victory over Red Wings

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Here’s what happened

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets made it to overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last outing, but suffered a devastating loss just ten seconds into extra hockey. With only six games left, the Detroit Red Wings would look to solidify their not last position in the Central division.

1st Period

The weird would start early in this one. A little over a minute in, the Red Wings fired the puck towards the net and Elvis Merzlikins, turning around, lost track of the puck. After the puck seemed to magically appear from behind the Columbus net minder, a cross ice pass on the other end resulted in the puck in the back of the net off of Oliver Bjorkstrand’s stick. The referees first reviewed the Detroit shot at the other end: No goal, good Columbus goal. Then Detroit challenged for offsides. After the video clearly showed Robinson over the line before the puck, the Blue Jackets’ goal was wiped away. The crazy sequence would end with the score back to 0-0.

A fast-paced period continued and the ice tilted towards the Blue Jackets. A home team power play resulted in four shots on goal, but zero goals. Elvis made several good saves, as did the metal piping behind him. The Jackets would get a second power play to close out the period, but it looked amateur hour compared to the first. Columbus led Detroit in shots 16-13 and shot attempts 27-13 after one.

Highlight: Jack Roslovic made several great plays in the first period. On the first power play, he danced through three Red Wings to get a clear breakaway shot. He also had a nifty no look shot that nearly found the upper right corner of the goal. He was strong on the puck and drew the second Detroit penalty.

2nd Period

As is par for the course, the Blue Jackets came out flat footed in the second period. They did not register a shot until nearly halfway, after the Red Wings had already recorded eight of their own. The period was uneventful, although both teams had their fair share of chances. The period would end 0-0 and while the Red Wings led in shots 27-23, the Jackets held a commanding lead in scoring chances 21-12.

Highlight: Both goaltenders showed up ready for the task. Merzlikins and Greiss were both posting shutouts through two periods despite having 1.92/1.93 expected goals against.

3rd Period

The Red Wings saw their first power play opportunity early in the third after a Kukan high stick. The Blue Jackets, however, had the best scoring chance in those two minutes. Atkinson got a breakaway chance, but Greiss easily closed the five hole to steer away the attempt. Cam has only 1 goal in his last 13 games - that’s not great, Bob. The rest of the period was uneventful as both teams continued to rack up the shot attempts. Although the Jackets would continue to dominate this game statistically, we’d head to overtime anyway.

OT

The Red Wings were all over the Blue Jackets in overtime. Columbus recorded 1 shot to Detroit’s 5. Of course, this game remained scoreless and both Elvis and Greiss picked up shutouts. Patrik Laine did not see any ice time during OT.

Shootout

Laine struck first, going five hole on Greiss after a few dekes. Elvis denied all Red Wing chances and Bjorkstrand sniped the game winner.

This game was brutal to watch. Elvis was outstanding and Greiss was pretty good on the other end. The Blue Jackets lacked any kind of finishing touch and didn’t make Greiss make any crazy saves despite having 33 (!) scoring chances and 56 shot attempts over the course of the game. Both goalies saw 12 high danger scoring chances, but Elvis seemed to have to make a few more high quality saves. The Blue Jackets, however, would manage to win their first game in nine tries.

Best Line

Robinson - Domi - Bjorkstrand generated 21 shot attempts and gave up 13 going the other way. Even though it got overturned, they scored a pretty goal in the first period.

Worst Line

Laine - Roslovic - Grigorenko wasn’t terrible, but they were the only Blue Jackets’ line with negative shot attempts. Roslovic was good individually in this one, but Laine was largely invisible minus his shootout goal.

What’s Next?

Blue Jackets head to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes Saturday at 7pm.