Three Things: Get Tougher, Yegor Bomb, Rest Of Game Undermines Decent First By Merzlikins

By Will Chase on October 30, 2022 at 5:20 pm
New Jersey Devils' John Marino scores a goal on Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins during the second period at Prudential Center.
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The month of October didn't go quite as planned for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Looking to close out the month with a victory, instead, the struggles continued on Sunday afternoon at Prudential Center where the Blue Jackets fell to the New Jersey Devils, 7-1.

The Blue Jackets were coming off a Friday night home loss to the Boston Bruins, 4-0, whereas the Devils, 6-3-0, beat the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. They have won six of the last seven games.

Elvis Merzlikins stopped 46 of 53 shots while Vitek Vanecek made 19 of 20 stops.

Yegor Bomb

Yegor Chinakhov scored his second goal of the season in the second period at 6:39 firing a bomb of a shot past Vitek Vanecek.

Sillinger's pass from the boards across to Chinakhov was huge. He picked up just his second point, and assist, of the season on the play. Kent Johnson didn't officially register an assist but he helped keep the play alive before Sillinger corraled the puck.

Chinakhov finished the month with six points (two goals, four assists) after scoring 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 62 games last season. 

The tally by Chinakhov snapped the goalless drought by the Blue Jackets dating back to the Oct. 25 game against the Arizona Coyotes.

The rest of the offense on Sunday was fairly nonexistent. Larsen split up Gaudreau and Laine for the third period, and aside from Chinakhov's goal, and a little second-period spurt, the same narrative continues on. Columbus was 0-for-2 on the power play, going 0-for-25 for the month of October.

Get Tougher

How many times have we heard the same form of rhetoric this season from the broadcasters to the coaching staff and players? Basically, they need to be harder to play against, raise their compete level, and be more consistent.

The Blue Jackets still need to figure that out.

The Devils pushed the play throughout the afternoon, outshooting the Blue Jackets 18-5 after one period. The bright spot was Merzlikins, looking fairly sharp early, but he and the team were quickly undone by three second-period goals. Then three more in the third period.

The Blue Jackets were outshot 53-20 for the afternoon.

Coming Unglued

The Blue Jackets have needed a big game out of their goaltender and Merzlikins looked up to the challenge in the first period. Stopping 16 of 17 first-period shots, he was busier than you'd like for him to have to be.

One of the best saves of the game came in the first period on the penalty kill when Tomas Tatar thought he found his scoring opportunity. Merzlikins had already fought off a few saves on the sequence leading up to making the big pad save on Tatar to his left.

However, a couple of goals in the second period, first by Nico Hischier (unassisted) at 3:22 and then Ryan Graves (Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes) 17 seconds later at 3:55 gave the Devils a 3-0 lead. Another goal by John Marino (unassisted) off the glove floated its way through Merzlikins at 19:38.

The assault continued with three more in the third period when Jonas Siegenthaler (Dawson Mercer, Erik Haula) scored on the power play at 3:46, Jesper Bratt scored (Hughes, Tatar) at 12:47, and Miles Wood (Nathan Bastain, Michael McLeod) tallied at 14:47.

Off To Finland

The Blue Jackets will head to Tampere, Finland for their matchup in the 2022 NHL Global Series against the Avalanche on Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5. Both games are slated for 2:00 pm ET. The Avalanche fell at the New York Islanders, 5-4, on Saturday.

View 5 Comments