Breaking a goal drought in style.
The Columbus Blue Jackets scored three first-period goals in a span of 2:43 and added another in the second period to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. The win breaks a 10-game road losing streak.
Patrik Laine scored his 10th career hat trick, including two first-period goals in 2:43, to break a nine-game goal drought. He's on a three-game point streak (three goals, three assists).
Vladislav Gavrikov added his third goal of the year and first in regulation this season. It's the first time this season the Blue Jackets have scored three goals in the first period.
Johnny Gaudreau and Jack Roslovic each had two assists. Kent Johnson, Emil Bemstrom, Nick Blankenburg, and Adam Boqvist added assists. Boqvist has four straight games with an assist, and five in the last six games he's played going back to Dec. 31. Roslovic picked up the 100th and 101st points of his Blue Jackets career and is now tied for second on the team with 22 points with Laine and Boone Jenner.
Olli Maatta, Jake Walman, and Lucas Raymond scored for the Red Wings. Maatta was credited with the tally after Mathieu Olivier inadvertently pushed the puck into the net in the third period when trying to corral the loose puck out of the blue paint. Walman is on a four-game point streak (three goals, one assist). Raymond is on a three-game point streak (three goals, four assists).
Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Larkin, Filip Hronek, and Ben Chiarot picked up assists. Kubalik is on a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). Larkin is on a three-game point streak (one goal, four assists). Hronek led the Red Wings with five points (two goals, three assists) against Columbus this season.
Elvis Merzlikins saved 25 shots while Ville Husso made 21 saves.
The Red Wings won the season series against Columbus (2-1-0).
Boone Jenner Returns, Cole Sillinger Sits
Cole Sillinger was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career tonight.
Here is Brad Larsens full quote when I asked him about Cole Sillinger being a healthy scratch tonight vs. DET. He expects Sillinger to be a real hungry guy when he returns. #CBJ pic.twitter.com/E0SuzlznZS— Mark Scheig (@mark_scheig) January 14, 2023
The captain, Jenner, returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 17 against the Boston Bruins after sustaining a broken thumb and missing the previous 11 games coming into play. The Blue Jackets were 2-9-0 without Jenner over that stretch. Joonas Korpisalo was not available due to personal reasons. Gavin Bayreuther was a healthy scratch. Daniil Tarasov and Eric Robinson were activated off injured reserve. Tarasov served as the backup. Marcus Bjork was sent to the AHL.
#CBJ lines in warmups, per @JacketsInsider:— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) January 14, 2023
The lineup changes meant Kent Johnson was put on the fourth line to center Kirill Marchenko and Emil Bemstrom. If that makes sense. Johnson played 9:41 and was +1 with one assist, two shots, and one hit. Bemstrom was +1 with one assist, one shot, and one hit in 9:42. Marchenko played 9:30 and was +1 with one shot, two hits, and one takeaway.
Well, maybe the first line of Gaudreau - Roslovic - Laine was the right move as the line combined for five points (three goals, four assists).
Is Laine Getting Hot?
We've seen it before.
Laine went through a rut and then he broke out in a big way on a Saturday night in Hockeytown to secure the hat trick. Two goals in 2:43, bookending the Blue Jackets' first-period scoring and ending a nine-game goal drought dating back to Dec. 17. Laine did have three assists in the last two games entering play on Saturday.
Here's the first goal at 12:47 and a nice feed from Gaudreau. Roslovic also added the first of two assists.
Then another one a few moments later with Roslovic picking up the primary assist and Blankenburg getting on the scoresheet.
The hat trick was completed early in the second period at 1:31—three goals in under 20 minutes—with Boqvist getting an assist and Gaudreau adding his second.
Laine's hat trick is his second as a Blue Jacket, with the first coming last season against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb 17.
Patrik Laine scored the 10th hat trick of his NHL career.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 15, 2023
Only four other players have as many since his debut season in 2016-17: Alex Ovechkin (15), David Pastrnak (13) and Connor McDavid (12). #NHLStats: https://t.co/P011uxPRer pic.twitter.com/34pEaXGASZ
In addition to the three goals, Laine was +2 and had a game-high five shots in 18:06. His 12 goals on the season co-lead the Jackets with Gaudreau.
Merzlikins Turning A Corner?
Not to be outdone by the offense, or forgotten rather was the goalie in the crease for the Blue Jackets.
Merzlikins was in the midst of turning in one of his better games of the season with 40 shutout minutes. After being the victim of a tough-luck 1-0 loss last Sunday against the Washington Capitals, Merzlikins and the Blue Jackets held on to pick up the 4-3 win on Saturday.
Merzlikins has allowed at least three goals in 13 of 15 starts this season. He had a start against the Flyers on Nov. 15 in which he allowed two goals but didn't finish the start due to injury.
The first goal that got past Merzlikins at 5:50 of the third period was an unlucky play off Olivier's stick as he was trying to corral the puck out of the blue paint and pushed it through, giving Maatta the official goal.
Detroit's furious rally fell short as they picked up three third-period goals and outshot Columbus 12-3 in the third period and 28-25 for the game. Merzlikins picks up his first win since Dec. 11 against the Los Angeles Kings and is now 5-11-0.
Merzlikins shared his thoughts about the win postgame.
The Blue Jackets return home to face the New York Rangers on Monday, Jan. 16 at 7:00 pm ET. The Blue Jackets defeated the Rangers, 5-1, on Oct. 23 at Madison Square Garden.