Three Things: Power Play Stays Hot, But Valuable Point Wasted After a Late Gaffe in Winnipeg

By Rob Mixer on November 23, 2019 at 10:16 pm
Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers (not pictured) scores a goal past Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) during the second period at Bell MTS Place.
Terrence Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jackets let one, maybe two, points get away tonight.

And that's putting it lightly. 

They scored three power play goals (more on this in a minute), controlled the game 5-on-5 against a Winnipeg Jets team that was down two defensemen later in the game, and didn't allow many scoring chances throughout. When you add it all up, it's a total gut punch to leave Bell MTS Place with nothing.

So ends their brief three-game winning streak, but man, it's a shame it had to end this way. Here are tonight's three things.

Sizzling Power Play

Paul MacLean isn't shooting the puck. He isn't making the plays. But a fresh set of eyes and ideas has (so far) seemed to inject some life into the Blue Jackets' power play, which was costing them games earlier in the season.

It's a bit different now. We'll see if it lasts.

They scored three times tonight, giving them five in the last two games after tallying twice in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Defenseman Seth Jones, who's been a big part of it, scored on a 5-on-3 tonight and has been more assertive in the last couple of games to lead the way.

"We've simplified things," Jones told FOX Sports Ohio's Dave Maetzold post-game. "We're shooting more pucks."

From the Blue Jackets' PR staff: The last time the Blue Jackets had back-to-back games with at least two power play goals was Mar. 31-Apr. 3, 2018, when they scored five in a two-game span. The last time they scored three PPG in a game was that Apr. 3, 2018 contest vs. Detroit (3-for-5).

It...Just...Can't Happen

Elvis Merzlikins didn't play his best game tonight, but he was in a 3-3 tie deep into regulation. You have a chance, right? Points are at a premium, and even a rookie goaltender knows better than to chuck a clearing attempt into traffic in a late-game situation–or to do it, period.

The end result was a nightmare. The puck was intercepted and shot back toward the Columbus net, where it deflected off a diving and desperate David Savard before trickling into the net to give the Jets a lead 4-3 lead. And that was that.

Goose Is Loose

Gus Nyquist has quietly been a solid contributor this season, even if he's not making flashy plays and filling the net. He's been more noticeable during this stretch of wins in three of four games and MacLean has him playing a couple of different roles on the power play, as well.

Nyquist has points in three straight games (1-2-3) and seven points (2-5-7) in his last seven games overall. 

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