Three Things: Depth Steps Up, Goaltender Play, Injury Bug Continues

By Dan Greene on November 15, 2022 at 8:30 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets center Sean Kuraly celebrates a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty - USA Today Sports
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The Columbus Blue Jackets hosted the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night for the second time in less than a week. Wins had been hard to come by for the Jackets as they had come out on top in only one of the last seven games. That victory just so happened to be the first meeting between these two teams, five nights earlier.

Columbus came into this game depleted by injuries and missing stars such as Patrik Laine, Jakub Voracek, and Zach Werenski. They were also missing key role players such as Nick Blankenburg, Justin Danforth, and Adam Boqvist. Nevertheless, the Blue Jackets were hungry to secure another win against their former coach, John Tortorella's squad.

The CBJ struck first when Columbus area native Sean Kuraly scored about halfway into the first period. The club carried that lead through the first as they headed into the second period with a 1-0 lead. They struck again as they went up 2-0 in the second, but then they let up two goals and finished the period tied 2-2. 

The first five minutes of the final period were a blur as the Blue Jackets scored two goals thirteen seconds apart. Then, a minute and a half later, the Flyers scored their third goal of the night. A few minutes after that, they scored another and tied the score 4-4.

This one went to overtime but Columbus was able to pull out the victory 5-4.

Depth Steps Up

As previously mentioned, the Blue Jackets were missing some of their biggest stars when they took the ice on Tuesday. They were therefore going to need some of their other guys to step up if they had any hope of pulling this one off.

Players such as Boone Jenner (two goals) and Eric Robinson (one goal and one assist) answered the bell as they both were able to find the net and help their team secure the victory. 

Goaltender Play

So far, this has not been the year that Elvis Merzlikins and the Columbus Blue Jackets had hoped to have. The goaltender had struggled mightily this season as he posted a .863 SV% and a miserable 4.82 GAA through his first eight games.  

He was able to put the struggles behind him as he got off to a great start, blocking 15 of the first 16 shots for an impressive .938 SV%. He also had several impressive saves.

Unfortunately, he looked to be injured as he was limping a few minutes after he let up his first goal, however, the coaching staff opted to keep him in the game. About a minute later, he let in a second goal, and it became obvious just how much pain he was in. He was then replaced with the backup netminder, Joonas Korpisalo. 

Korpisalo came into the game with about eight minutes left in the second. He stayed perfect through the rest of the period, blocking all six of the shots he faced. He ended up letting in two goals in the third, but he was able to hold on for the win.

Injury Bug Continues

The Blue Jackets were already shorthanded coming into this game against the Flyers. Then they not only lost their starting goalie in Merzlikins, but they also lost defenseman Jake Bean. This young season is already testing the fortitude of the club as it is forcing them to dig deep and keep producing, even when missing key players.

The team also had a scare in the third period when Andrew Peeke went down with an injury, but fortunately, he was able to return just a few minutes later. 

Next Up 

The Blue Jackets stay at home for the second of a six-game homestand as they host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. The puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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