Three Things: Oliver Was Good, Elvis Was Better, But The End Result Was The Best

By Ed Francis on April 19, 2021 at 9:25 pm
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Patrik Laine (29) chase a loose puck during the second period at BB&T Center.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Losses aren't the worst thing in the world right now.

Especially when both teams played well enough to win.

The Columbus Blue Jackets made it six consecutive losses Monday night, but the 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers was not without its positives - even when the end result was a negative.

Here are three things from the first of two in Sunrise:


At the deadline, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said that the Blue Jackets needed to retool, but not rebuild. 

Oliver Bjorkstrand is the kind of player this club needs to "retool" around. 

The freshly-turned 26-year-old scored again Monday night, his 15th of the season, to break the tie with Cam Atkinson for the team lead in goals. 

Bjorkstrand also leads the team in assists (19), and of course, in points too. All this for a player who averages just over 17 minutes of ice time per night. The Blue Jackets will certainly have decisions to make this offseason, and one of those decisions should be landing a head coach that can maximize (and utilize) Bjorkstrand's talent. 


Elvis Merzlikins stopped 35 of 38 Panther shots in the loss. At least two of those shots were goals that he couldn't do anything about. The first goal:

Not on Elvis.

The second goal:

Not on Elvis.

The third goal:

Whether or not it was goaltender interference is arguable, but even if it were solely on Elvis (it wasn't), it still was a heck of a night for the Latvian lothario.


Feelings be damned, losses are the best thing for this team right now. The wins won't help anything but the morale of some fans, but they'll certainly hurt the teams draft positioning come this summer. The team put forth an effort, made some plays, showed some strengths, showed some grit, and the best part: they didn't pick up two meaningless points in the standings. 

There's a tremendous difference between rooting against your favorite team and being content with a loss. Games like these, 5th Line, need to be met with that feeling of content.