Three Things: Werenski Hat Trick Leads Blue Jackets to Big Win

By Jacob Nitzberg on December 31, 2019 at 9:45 pm
Dec 31, 2019; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) makes a sticks save against the Florida Panthers during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

What a night.

Led by Zach Werenski's hat trick, the Blue Jackets got a big win over the Florida Panthers and old friend Sergei Bobrovsky on New Year's Eve at Nationwide Arena. Their point streak has hit 11 in a row.

Elvis Merzlikins saved 35 of 36 shots for his first NHL win, turning in a stellar performance.

Here are three things from tonight's victory.

Way to Recover

Alexander Wennberg had quite the sequence in the second period. It began when he took a hard shove from Josh Brown, who was called for interference. As Wennberg fell to the ground, Vladislav Gavrikov ripped a shot on net that found Wennberg's face. With a bloody face and injured arm, Wennberg headed to the locker room.

He would return. And in a big way, indeed. With the Blue Jackets on the power play late in the second period, Wennberg made a fantastic pass cross-ice to Gustav Nyquist, who in turn found Boone Jenner for the go-ahead goal.

Impressive resolve showed by the Swede.

Z Notches 3

Werenski scored three goals tonight for the third hat trick by a Blue Jackets defenseman in franchise history. The last was Bryan Berard with three goals on 1/8/06 at PHX, with Deron Quint accomplishing the feat on 3/9/01 at FLA.

What a night it was for Werenski, who scored three separate snipes past Bobrovsky for his first NHL hat trick. It's a night Werenski and Blue Jackets fans will remember for a long, long time.

You Always Remember Your First

Merzlikins finally got his long-awaited first NHL win tonight. With Korpisalo out, there will be a lot of pressure on Merzlikins to lead the Blue Jackets to more success. He certainly showed that he's capable of that tonight, proving wrong some doubters in the process:

You absolutely love to see it.