Game #60 Preview/Gamethread: Blue Jackets take on Wild in another matinee matchup

Here’s what you need to know

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild
Sunday, February 26, 2023 - 2:00 PM ET
Xcel Energy Arena, St. Paul, Minnesota
TV: Bally’s Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Hockey Wilderness

Columbus Blue Jackets, 19-35-5, 43 points, 8th Metro, 16th East
Minnesota Wild, 31-21-5, 70 points, 3rd Central, 6th West

Responding to a tightly-played shutout loss against Minnesota with a barn-burner victory over Edmonton was pretty unexpected, so I’d be lying if I gave any inclination of what to expect from today’s game in St. Paul. I do expect that the Jackets will be out seeking revenge, looking to play spoiler once again. Patrik Laine has indicated that is what the Jackets are enjoying at this point of the season; beating good teams that really need the points.

I do love these early games though, and wish there were more of them throughout the year.  This is the second-to-last afternoon game of the year, with one more coming in Mid-March, so make sure to enjoy it!

Player to Watch

Elvis Merzlikins

With his stronger play in recent weeks (when he actually plays), it would be nice to see Elvis reclaim the starters’ net. He will reclaim it by default soon enough once Korpisalo is finally moved, but taking it back by merit would be the preferred route. Elvis is here for the foreseeable future, so the team needs to do whatever it takes to get him right heading into next year. With Tarasov slated to be the backup next year due to waiver status, there is really no safety net to fall back on, especially when you consider not only Tarasov’s youth and inexperience, but also his ability to stay healthy.

Long story short, Elvis needs to get it together, and why not start now?

Jackets Notes

After being shutout on Thursday, the Jackets responded with six goals just yesterday. As for which team shows up this afternoon is anybody’s guess. Look for Elvis to get the start on the latter half of a back-to-back, especially after a game in which Korpisalo faced nearly 50 shots, allowing five goals.

Is it time for Jack Roslovic to have his end of year, meaningless hot streak? His four point game would indicate he may be trending in that direction. If he keeps it up, he may raise enough eyebrows to do so on a contending team. His name has been floated around yet again this year, he’s failed to really find a home on a line this year, skating on pretty much every line at points this year. He should be brimming with confidence after his performance yesterday that earned him the kepi.

It was so refreshing to finally see the Blue Jackets top two lines actually look like threats on offense! Kirill Marchenko continues to dazzle, and Patrik Laine had a much improved game leading his line with a multi-point effort. A stronger defense awaits in Minnesota, so I’m curious to see if they can carry over any momentum.

The Other Bench

Minnesota saw their winning streak snapped at 4 games on Friday with an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most importantly for them and their playoff race, they kept their point streak alive. They will need every point possible to fend off the Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. Wild General Manager, Bill Guerin, is looking to make a big splash at the deadline to get his team over the hump, and has his team’s stretch of strong place recently has him even more motivated to make something happen. The WIld have struggled to find the back of the net at times this season so a big name on offense has to be on their radar.

Season Series

02/23/2023 MIN 2 @ CBJ 0
02/26/2023 CBJ @ MIN


Minnesota   Columbus
2.81 (25) GPG 2.54 (30)
2.73 (8) GAPG 3.70 (30)
23.4% (8) PP% 16.3% (30)
82.1% (6) PK% 77.3% (20)
50.52% (19) 5v5 Shot Attempt % 45.66% (29)
50.92% (14) 5v5 Unblocked shot attempt % 45.56% (29)
7.12 (31) 5v5 Shooting % 7.69 (26)
.922 (10) 5v5 Save % .907 (25)
Kirill Kaprizov, 34 G Leader Boone Jenner, 18
Mats Zuccarello, 36 A Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 39
Kirill Kaprizov, 68 P Leader Johnny Gaudreau, 54
Ryan Hartman, 68 PIM Leader Mathieu Olivier, 77
19-10-2 Home / Road 6-17-3
5-3-2 Last 10 4-4-2

Projected Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets

Patrik Laine Boone Jenner Johnny Gaudreau
Kirill Marchenko Jack Roslovic Kent Johnson
Liam Foudy Cole Sillinger Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson Sean Kuraly Mathieu Olivier
Tim Berni Erik Gudbranson
Nick Blankenburg Andrew Peeke
Gavin Bayreuther Adam Boqvist
Elvis Merzlikins
Joonas Korpisalo

Minnesota Wild

Kirill Kaprizov Ryan Hartman Mats Zuccarello
Adam Beckman Joel Eriksson Ek Matthew Boldy
Jordan Greenway Frederick Gaudreau Brandon Duhaime
Mason Shaw Connor Dewar Ryan Reaves
Jacob Middleton Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin Mathew Dumba
Jon Merrill Alex Goligoski
Filip Gustavsson
Marc-Andre Fleury

Let’s Go Jackets!

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