The Blue Jackets are halfway through their four-game western road trip and, so far, they've impressed. The Blue Jackets have two wins on back-to-back nights thanks to strong performances by their current starting goaltender, Elvis Merzlikins, and ensemble offensive production from the Blue Jackets skaters.
|SAN JOSE SHARKS|
19–22–4 (42 points)
ROSTER / SCHEDULE
10:30 P.M. – THURSDAY, JANUARY 9
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
FOX SPORTS OHIO
FOX SPORTS GO
Standing in the way of a three-game win streak is the Blue Jackets' third game in four nights, this time against a veteran Sharks team that just beat them last weekend.
The Sharks have had an up-and-down first half of the season, firing head coach Peter DeBoer after a tough start and replacing him with interim head coach Bob Boughner, a former Blue Jackets assistant coach under Scott Arniel (oh, the memories). The Sharks currently sit eight points out of a playoff spot and have suffered from poor goaltending all season, and time is running out for a team whose window for contention was already closing.
The Blue Jackets face a different challenge tonight than they have in the first two games of this trip. While the Shark Tank isn't the tough place to play that it once was, the Sharks do like to start fast and play fast, and John Tortorella's team will need to be on its toes.
Here's a look at tonight's projected lines for the Blue Jackets:
Projected Starter: Merzlikins
- Z TAKES THE LEAD. Blue Jacket defenseman Zach Werenski has been on an offensive tear. Werenski has seven goals in the past 10 games and now has 15 on the season, leading the league in goals scored by a defenseman. He is well-positioned to soon break the Blue Jackets' single-season record for goals by a defenseman (16 set by Werenski and Seth Jones in 2017-2018).
- ELVIS STAYS HOT. Since Joonas Korpisalo's injury, Elvis Merzlikins has successfully backstopped the Blue Jackets to four wins and one loss. In that span, Merzlikins has a .940 save percentage (No. 1 in the NHL since Dec. 31) and a 2.01 goals-against average (2nd in the NHL since Dec. 31).
- GERBE CONTRIBUTING. Originally an AHL call-up due to injury, Nathan Gerbe has made the case for his sticking to the NHL roster. In the last two games, Gerbe has two goals and has contributed to the team in all facets. Tortorella loves his willingness to compete and his offensive contributions have been a pleasant surprise, earning him a top-six role over the last few games.
Follow 1st Ohio Battery