Three Things: Elvis Stands Tall, The Blue Jackets Hang Tough, And Start a Big Road Trip with a Big Win

By Rob Mixer on January 7, 2020 at 1:01 am
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski protects the puck during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center.

That's one interesting (but fun) way to start a four-game road trip. 

While not perfect, the Blue Jackets did what they needed to do: they shook a brutal start, got some bounces, and had their goaltender back them up along the way. After a 4-2 win in Los Angeles on Monday night, the Blue Jackets are a single point back of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Here are tonight's 3 Things.

A Rough Start

The Blue Jackets were a tough watch in the first period.

Thankfully, their goaltender was ready to play.

Elvis Merzlikins was outstanding right out of the gate – despite giving up a goal only 1:26 into the game – and the Kings could've blown this thing open with the number of chances they created. Columbus needed almost an entire period to get right, and was fortunate to skate off after 20 minutes down only 1-0. 

Sizzlin' Sonny

Since returning from injury, Sonny Milano has been a fixture in John Tortorella's lineup – and the young fella is rewarding his coach's trust. It's been well-document how these two have gone back and forth over the years, but this season we've finally gotten a glimpse at what Milano can do with consistent ice time and responsibility.

On the whole, it's been really good.

Just take a look at the pass Milano makes on the Blue Jackets' second goal, scored by none other than No. 4 Harry Orr (Scott Harrington). The feed is sublime.

Milano has points in three straight games (one goal, two assists) and has been a productive and noticeable presence. Let's hope this continues, because it could give the Blue Jackets a needed offensive weapon in the second half of the season.

Finish The Job

As we mentioned, the Blue Jackets' four-game road trip didn't start all that well. But with some quality goaltending from Merzlikins – who seems to get better with each start – they were able to get settled and figure things out. They scored twice in the third period, one from Kevin Stenlund and a late empty-netter from Gus Nyquist, to put the game out of reach. 

Their second and third period effort was encouraging in a game they needed to win. And now, they're off to Anaheim to see if they can keep this rolling. 

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