Three Things: Sillinger And Chinakhov Impress, Strong Goaltending, And The Penalty Kill Dominates

By Will Chase on October 21, 2021 at 10:15 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets vs New York Islanders.
Gaelen Morse-USA TODAY Sports
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Throw away Tuesday's game and start anew.

That's what the Columbus Blue Jackets did, back home at Nationwide Arena Thursday night against the always stingy New York Islanders.

The Islanders notched their first win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday and came in looking to continue to solidify themselves among the Metropolitan Division. Meanwhile, it was Elvis Merzlikins back between the pipes looking to continue a string of sound goaltending play shared by him and Joonas Korpisalo.


SOLID ROOKIE PLAY

Both teams missed on early power-play opportunities, including Columbus going 0-for-2 in the first period, but a better start to the game was something we were all eager to see. Could they capitalize? Yegor Chinakhov was trying to do his part.

Columbus was outshot 7-0 in the first half of the opening period before starting to fight back with eight of its own. Luckily for the Blue Jackets, Korpisalo was up for the task as the 27-year-old made his season debut, keeping the most important number at zero on the scoreboard and stopping all 13 first period shots.

Chinakhov had one of the few great scoring chances against Detroit on Tuesday night and looks to be continuing his fine impression. Losing Max Domi after one game was less than ideal and though Chinakhov was going to play sooner or later, it's nice to see the young rookie holding his own thus far given the opportunity.


ELVIS HAS ARRIVED

Not to sound like a broken record, but among the early themes this season, strong Blue Jackets goaltending has been one of the more positive ones. The 8-2 win over Arizona was just one week ago and it feels like a month ago based on how hard scoring has been to come by.

To be fair, they did face tough goaltenders in the form of Philipp Grubauer, Thomas Greiss, and Ilya Sorokin. To make things more difficult, Barry Trotz is known for his teams' stingy defensive play.

The one goal that got through Merzlikins in the second by Scott Mayfield came five-hole, bouncing off a defender in front, but he was otherwise a brick wall stopping 34 of 36 shots. 


SPECIAL TEAMS SUCCESS

Aside from the blowout against the Coyotes, Columbus has killed off all eight penalties since, including three more tonight

While it felt like a bit of a penalty-fest, among both teams, it's encouraging to see the goaltending and defense doing their part so far. Now we need to see the offense get going. And tonight was a positive in that department.

On that note, the Blue Jackets did continue a streak in converting on the power play in every game played, minus their win against the Seattle Kraken, in which they were never on a power play.


Hurricane Warning

Jake Bean will get to face his former club on Saturday night when the Carolina Hurricanes come surging into town to face the Blue Jackets at 7 pm EST. Carolina is off to a 3-0-0 start after their 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens tonight. 

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