The last time the Columbus Blue Jackets played a struggling opponent that resided below them in the standings, they lost 6-0. They wanted to avoid the same effort and result in Ottawa.
Thankfully, the Jackets played much better against the Ottawa Senators. Led by the Werenski, Laine, and Elvis, the offensive continued to click and the defense was able to limit the chances against. It was refreshing to watch this team play a solid game on both ends of the ice.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
After a slow start for both teams, the Blue Jackets got the first power play of the night when Tkachuk went off for interference. The Jackets got off a flurry of shots on Forsberg, but the former Jackets’ prospect stood strong. It got worse for the Senators, however, as a delay of game penalty made it five-on-three. Although the Jackets managed six shots during the four minute advantage, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
The Senators struck first on their third shot of the night. Ennis went hard to the net and bumped into Elvis. Elvis had enough time to get set back up before Ennis was able to redirect long pass past the Columbus goaltender. The Jackets once again got bit by not keeping the area around their goalie clear. Ennis is also not a big guy.
OTT Goal 1-0: Ennis (Chabot, Tierney) 9:48
Defensive mistakes were made up for before the period was over. Roslovic was able to make a defensive play behind his own net and find Laine on an outlet pass. Laine found a streaking Werenski through traffic, which created a two-on-one, and Roslovic was able to even up the game on a gimme from Z.
CBJ Goal 1-1: Roslovic (Werenski, Laine) 15:13
Noteworthy: The Jackets’ fourth line was very effective in the first period. Robinson, in particular, was disruptive on the defensive side of the puck. The combined line was able to shut down their opponent’s shot attempts and won that battle 4-0.
The Jackets took the lead when Werenski fired a pass from below his own goal line all the way to Robinson on the Ottawa blue line. The Senators were in the middle of a change and the Jackets were able to take advantage as Robinson was able to snipe the puck past Forsberg.
CBJ Goal 2-1: Robinson (Werenski, Merzlikins) 2:40
Elite pass. Elite snipe. pic.twitter.com/PjrHghpm7W— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 17, 2022
Laine went to the box for hooking just before the halfway point. Peeke got away with a trip that would have made it a five-on-three, but it went uncalled. The Senators weren’t able to muster much on the power play and the two minutes were killed off.
Tkachuk got a good look on off the rush, but Elvis made a nice glove save to preserve the lead.
Brady gets a partial break and Merzlikins makes the save. Brady lets him know putting sugar on it isn't cool. pic.twitter.com/eUkRGdrgLr— Lalime's Martian (@LalimesMartian) March 17, 2022
Roslovic got his second of the night to take the two goal lead. A Laine floater from the point got knocked down right in front of Forsberg and Jack was able to sweep it home. Laine did a wonderful job of creating space and opening up a shooting lane, which ultimately led to the goal.
CBJ Goal 3-1: Roslovic (Laine, Carlsson) 14:21
Noteworthy: It was nice to see Gavrikov having a nice game after some recent struggles. Through two periods, the Jackets were winning the unblocked shot attempt battle 14-5 with Gavy on the ice.
The Senators pushed hard in the first half of the third period and led scoring chances 5-2. Elvis continued his strong play and didn’t leave much of an opportunity for Ottawa to find the back of the net. The Jackets were clearly in defensive mode, which isn’t terribly surprising given the fact they were set to play again in 24 hours.
Not much to write home about in the second half of the period beyond Kuraly’s open netter to cap off the Jackets’ win.
CBJ EN Goal 4-1: Kuraly (unassisted) 18:23
When’s the last time we saw the Jackets play a game like this? “Bad opponent,” you might say, but this is the same team that got destroyed by the Islanders just a week ago. The defense was mostly able to limit high danger chances in front of Elvis, while still being able to produce offense at the other end. The Jackets won the 5v5 scoring chances battle 26-22 and expected goals 2.5-1.73.
Elvis looked about as solid as he’s looked all season. He didn’t look jumpy and redirected more pucks to the corners than we’ve seen in recent memory. He made a couple athletic saves, but mostly put himself in good position to make routine saves. He saved 30 of 31 shots.
Werenski and Laine showed why they are the best players on this team. They made elite passes that resulted in goals, created shots that led to scoring chances, and looked dominant at times.
The youngsters may not have showed up on the scoresheet tonight, but they weren’t quiet. Chinakhov and Sillinger were both noticeable. They combined for five shots on goal and six scoring chances.
The Blue Jackets head home to take on the Washington Capitals to finish off the back-to-back. The puck drops at 7:00PM ET.