With an opportunity to get their first two-game sweep of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets puttered out in the final period of play in a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Here are three things from the last Saturday night of the season without fans at Nationwide Arena:
Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Blue Jackets fought back to tie the game early in the second period, and it would stay tied at 2-2 heading into the third.
That's as good as the story would get for Columbus, as Nashville scored twice in the first 0:45 of the third period to get a lead they would never give up.
The 37th shot of the night for the Predators - just 0:16 into the final period - gave the Predators a 3-2 lead. Calle Jarnkrok got the unassisted goal after yet another failed clearing attempt by the Blue Jackets in their own zone, their one millionth of the season.
The 38th shot, less than a half minute later, made it 4-2. Filip Forsberg had the unassisted score this time, easily walking in and beating Elvis Merzlikins.
SOME POSITIVES DID EXIST, THOUGH...
Gabriel Carlsson played his first game in over a year, and scored his first NHL goal on an absolutely perfect look from Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Great goal, but again: that. pass. from. Bjorkstrand.
I would like to discuss this Bjorkstrand pass. pic.twitter.com/MAMvomD4dk— Alison (@AlisonL) February 21, 2021
That wasn't the only thing that went right. Scott Harrington looked solid again, and is at least making a case to see a bump in minutes. He picked up the assist on Boone Jenner's short-handed goal, the 4th time this season that the Blue Jackets have scored when down a man. Finally, despite allowing four goals, Merzlikins played extremely well and kept the Blue Jackets in when they were being outshot and out-chanced by about a 2:1 margin through two periods.
Following a questionable tripping call on Eric Robinson early in the final period, the Predators went to the power play for 5th and final time of the night. They didn't get a power play goal, but the pressure the Preds were able to put on Columbus in the Blue Jackets zone led to this Merzlikins injury:
He was in obvious pain for several moments, and Joonas Korpisalo came in for the remainder of the game. Mums the word on any potential injury to Merzlikins, but the Blue Jackets will need two healthy goalies for the stretch if they have any hope of turning things around.