Three Things: Dubois, Merzlikins Shine As Blue Jackets Push Maple Leafs To The Brink

By Dan Dukart on August 7, 2020 at 12:12 am
Pierre-Luc Dubois scores his second goal of Game 3
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets, or the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? After falling behind 3-0, the Blue Jackets stormed back for a 4-3 overtime win to stun the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here are three things to take away from the game, as Columbus now finds themselves one win away from advancing.


Let's just get the obvious out of the way. Dubois, who just a few days ago was in John Tortorella's doghouse, completely took over the game, becoming the first player in Blue Jackets franchise history to tally a hat trick in a postseason game

It's fair to say that Tortorella's frustrations with Dubois were justified. This version of Dubois is the version the Blue Jackets need to be successful. The former third-overall pick was nearly unstoppable, as his combination of speed and physicality tormented the Maple Leafs. 

The 22-year old played 27:30 in the win, matching up regularly against Auston Matthews and John Tavares. Bonus fun - here's the OT goal in Dubois' native French.


It's hard not to feel for Joonas Korpisalo, who put on a masterclass in Games 1 and 2. In Game 3, he was the victim of some bad luck on the first goal and a brutal penalty-killing breakdown on the second goal. And while the third goal is one he'd surely like to have back, the Blue Jackets can basically thank Korpisalo for a Game 1 win and keeping the game competitive in Game 2.

With that said ... Elvis Merzlikins came on in relief and pitched a shutout, under duress, and with no warm-up to boot. Tortorella has a heck of a decision to make regarding who starts for Game 4, which starts 20 hours from the time Game 3 ended. For my money, it's hard to imagine Tortorella going back to Korpisalo, but that decision is above my pay-grade. Merzlikins stopped all 21 shots he faced.


There ain't no rest for the wicked. The Blue Jackets will have a chance to close out the Maple Leafs on Friday night at 8 PM (EST). 

Many players skated heavy minutes: Seth Jones played a game-high 32:40. Zach Werenski (31:18) and Cam Atkinson (30:09) also played over 30 minutes. 

But think of it this way -  had the Blue Jackets lost, there would be plenty of concern over the short turnaround and the big minutes played, and that's with the club facing elimination. Instead, Columbus heads into Game 4 with a chance to eliminate the Maple Leafs.