Three Things: Voracek Returns, Ollie, Blue Jackets Rebound

By Will Chase on January 20, 2022 at 9:53 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets's Patrik Laine is defended by Philadelphia Flyers' Cam York in the first period.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets had an interesting last week.

They had their best win of the year at the Carolina Hurricanes last Thursday, followed by their most humiliating loss of the year on Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Both of those teams are among the best in the NHL and bonafide Stanley Cup contenders. The loss to the Panthers resulted in a hard practice on Monday so the Blue Jackets had time to dwell, and then get over those games.

As they turned their attention towards their first meeting of the year versus the Philadelphia Flyers, it was a game featuring emotion and two desperate teams, including a Flyers team coming in on a nine-game losing streak.

Elvis Merzlikins (33 saves on 34 shots) and Carter Hart (27 saves on 29 shots) both played very well as the Blue Jackets win 2-1.

Voracek Is Back

Jake Voracek was back in the Blue Jackets lineup after missing the last two games due to COVID protocol. His return was also his first chance back in Philadelphia since the trade that sent Cam Atkinson to the Flyers.

Voracek was +1 with two shots (16:25). Atkinson had three shots (20:37).

As has been part of the new normal due to COVID precautions, the roster was without a few more familiar faces, providing opportunities for Gavin Bayreuther and Jake Christiansen.


Oliver Bjorkstrand's goal on the backhand put the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 at 11:53 of the second period.

That was a big goal after Zach Werenski's tally earlier in the period was overturned due to goaltender interference. Alexandre Texier inadvertently bumped on Hart on the play and the Flyers won their challenge. Sean Kuraly picked up on the assist on what is his 29th birthday and Boone Jenner had two assists for the game to extend a five-game point streak (three goals, three assists).

​Bjorkstrand's goal was also huge the way the goalies were playing and how the game was playing out to that point. The first period featured little action before things picked up in the second.

Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, Patrik Laine's top-shelf shot at 5:50 of the third beat Hart, which was enough to hold on for the 2-1 win. Dean Kukan also had his first assist. 

Rebound Win

It wasn't perfect but it was a nice victory after four days off, and after sustaining the type of beating they did to the Panthers on Saturday. Then paying for that with a hard practice on Monday.

As a result, the game was about as good as you'd hope for.

The Flyers have now lost 10 games in a row — the first time in a decade a team has two 10 game losing streaks in the same season — and you don't want to be that team to give life to a desperate team.

Though Columbus was 0-for-3 on the power play, Thursday's game was a nice response to recent adversity for Brad Larsen's bunch.

  • Zach Werenski led the game in ice-time (29:58)
  • Werenski leads the game with six shots on net; Laine had five
  • Blue Jackets Penalty Kill: 4-for-4
  • Five giveaways to Philadelphia's 11
  • ​Andrew Peeke moved to the top defensive pair and led the game with six blocked shots; Yegor Chinakhov had four

Penguins Come in

The Blue Jackets play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at 7:00 pm ET at Nationwide Arena. Pittsburgh defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-4 in Pittsburgh.