Three Things: Blue Jackets Hold On, Defeat Canucks Behind Strong Play of Emil Bemstrom, Elvis Merzlikins

By Jacob Nitzberg on March 9, 2020 at 12:49 am
Mar 8, 2020; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher (51) skates against Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist (14) during the second period at Rogers Arena.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

And breathe.

The Blue Jackets held on for a crucial road win against the Canucks tonight, grabbing two much-needed points and continuing their push for the playoffs.

Goals came from Emil Bemstrom and Eric Robinson (GWG), and Elvis Merzlikins saved 26 of 27 shots in a strong performance.

Let's get into three things from tonight's win.

Bemmer Continues Strong Play

Bemstrom is finding his footing in the NHL, and he can only get better. After a lackluster first period, the Blue Jackets scored two second-period goals. The first came from Bemstrom off of a nice feed from Dubois.

That goal was Bemstrom's 10th of the season. In his first NHL season at the age of 20, he's certainly looked like a vet at times.

Third-Period Push

Although the Blue Jackets didn't score in the third period, they came out strong with a fire that they had been missing for most of the first two periods. 

In the first 48 seconds of the third period, they registered five shots on goal. That's two more than they mustered during the entire first period. 

Putting together a complete, 60-minute game has been difficult for the Blue Jackets this season, and the intensity that they began the third period with needs to be translated to the entire game.

Penalty Kill Steps Up

In the third period, the Canucks seized momentum with a breakaway goal from Elias Pettersson. Just three minutes after Pettersson's goal, the Canucks got a power play opportunity. A goal would have blown the roof off of Rogers Arena. 

Instead, like they did all night, the Blue Jackets' penalty kill stepped up, limited chances, and held the Canucks scoreless. They haven't allowed a power play goal in their last three games.