Blue Jackets Hang On To Steal One From the Anaheim Ducks, and Are Tied For the Eastern Conference's Final Playoff Spot

By Rob Mixer on January 8, 2020 at 12:32 am
Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) handles the puck while under pressure by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) during the second period at Honda Center.

These "find a way" Blue Jackets sure are entertaining, even when the game is not.

If you watched the first 15 minutes of the game, did you think they'd have much of a chance? Probably not. But again, here we are.

The Blue Jackets held serve in the Eastern Conference playoff race and won their 21st game of the season, a 4-3 victory. And again, Elvis Merzlikins was outstanding between the pipes. 

  1 2 3 F
DUCKS 1 1 1 3

Despite a rocky start, Columbus found its game just in time and managed to get the job done. A wild sequence late in the second period turned this game around and helped the Blue Jackets steal one from the Ducks, who heavily outplayed the visitors for most of the game. 

For as awful as the first period was, the Blue Jackets somehow managed to turn a mediocre (at best) second period into a lead through 40 minutes. They aren't in Vegas yet, but it was some of the most impressive magic we'll see this week.

After Ondrej Kase scored in the opening minute of the second period (gulp), the Blue Jackets looked out of sorts. They were chasing the puck, fighting it when it was on their stick, and struggled to break down the Ducks' defense to get any sort of quality. But as weird as this run has been, you just knew a weird sequence would shift the tide.

Pierre-Luc Dubois set up Nathan Gerbe late in the second period to tie the game, 2-2, a play that Anaheim challenged for offsides. The challenge was unsuccessful and by rule, the Blue Jackets got a power play to close out the period – and they capitalized.

Zach Werenski's 14th goal of the season came with 10.4 seconds left in the middle frame, sending the Blue Jackets into the room feeling much better than they did after the first period. 

Injury Update

Cam Atkinson remains out of the lineup due to an ankle injury, but of the many injured Blue Jackets, he appears closest to a return. He's been skating and also joined the team for this trip road but has not played in the first two games, in Los Angeles or Anaheim.

Next Up

The road trip rolls along Thursday night in San Jose, where the Blue Jackets take on the Sharks at SAP Center. Game time is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.

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