How bout them Blue Jackets?
Another game and another gritty win for Columbus as they took down the Carolina Hurricanes in regulation by a score of 3-2. Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson, and Emil Bemstrom were the goal scorers. Although goaltender Elvis Merzlikins broke his shutout streak, he still was able to withstand a barrage and come out with a victory.
Here are tonight's three things:
Ever since the year began, the Blue Jackets have had to fight off haters saying that they weren't going to be a playoff team. Heck, a lot of the hating came from me in particular. But at just past the halfway point of the season, the Blue Jackets find themselves in a playoff spot.
Not only is it impressive. It feels downright surreal. The team still isn't producing at an amazing clip offensively and they are having goaltenders stand on their head night after night, nonetheless, they continue to win.
Each night means a new hero and tonight's was Nick Foligno, who scored the game-winning goal. Earlier in the game, he was the reason for an offsides call that went against the Blue Jackets but he was able to redeem himself.
It pays to be good and lucky.
Winning at all costs
While they did come out with another win, the Blue Jackets got massively outshot. A lot of it came from the outside, but they were still with their backs to the wall for a large portion of the game.
In moments like tonight, no one is going to remember six months from now that you were outshot by a massive amount. You're going to remember the win itself. What the Blue Jackets need to be doing against these playoff-type teams is starting to hammer out their process and making sure that their play is up to standard. A break or two can go your way but playing with structure will help them out immensely.
They can keep racking up the points but against teams with playoff aspirations, they have to be better.
What more can be said about Elvis Merzlikins that hasn't been stated elsewhere? He had his shutout streak snapped but was still able to come out with a win.
He is becoming the folk hero that many thought he could be. He is taking the city by storm, not with his personality, it is all coming from his play. It is only made better by the fact that these wins are coming at a time in which they desperately need him to win. When fellow goaltender Joonas Korpisalo went down, it wasn't immediately obvious that he was going to be up to the task.
While his mid-900 save percentage isn't sustainable unless he is the next coming of Dominik Hasek, he has shown that he can be relied upon and that the throne that Korpisalo sits on isn't all that safe.
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