Two debuts happened tonight - and both benefited the Columbus Blue Jackets greatly.
One was from Oliver Bjorkstrand - who has played 234 career games with the Blue Jackets but had missed the past 13 games with an upper-body injury.
The other was from Matiss Kivlenieks, an AHL-level goaltender in the Blue Jackets' system, who thanks to a Joonas Korpisalo injury was in line for a potential call-up for Columbus. After Elvis Merzlikins was given a well-deserved rest, Kivlenieks made his NHL debut.
Both were great - and one could say needed, even. Let's discuss in tonight's Three Things.
The Maestro Makes Good
Oliver Bjorkstrand - thank you.
One could argue even after 13 games Oliver Bjorkstrand missed with the Blue Jackets, he wasn't too terribly missed. The reason being that the club went 9-2-2. Tonight, though, he showed his worth, and why he will be needed down the stretch for Columbus.
After being down 1-0 for a majority of the game against the New York Rangers, the Blue Jackets needed a hero. Bjorkstrand then proceeded to welcome himself back to the lineup early in the third period with his 13th goal of the season, and he wasn't done there.
With just 26.5 seconds to play, when the knotted contest was sure to go to extra minutes, Bjorkstrand did what he did best, put a blistering wrist shot into the back of the net, to put the game on ice.
He came back hot, folks, and that is very, very good.
Kivlenieks Kills the Debut
Matiss Kivlenieks, welcome. Not welcome back. Just, welcome.
After a shaky start between the pipes early in the year for Columbus, the tide has shifted massively. Joonas Korpisalo is an all-star. Elvis Merzlikins has three shutouts in his last four games. Now, an AHL-call-up is letting in one goal in his NHL debut in Madison Square Garden. Light work, yes?
Kivlenieks put aside 31 shots on the night en route to the Blue Jackets' fifth win in-a-row, speaking of which...
Columbus is Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot
This is just not making any sense, and we're here for it. The Columbus Blue Jackets are on an absolute tear, folks, and nothing is seeming to slow them down. Through the countless injuries and returns from injury (that many thought would disrupt the chemistry of the club), the Blue Jackets keep their head down and just keep moving.
The club is now 15-2-4 in its last 21 games and is only getting healthier. They are making their playoff-push presence even more known too, and are just one (!) point back of the third seed in the Metropolitan Division.
For a team that was nearly dead-last in the NHL almost a month ago...just enjoy, friends. Just enjoy.
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