Last time out against the Hurricanes, the Blue Jackets built a 4-0 lead, only to give up seven unanswered goals. They built another 4-0 lead on Thursday night, but this time it ended in two points for Columbus as the Blue Jackets took down the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes, 6-0.
It was the first time all season that the Hurricanes had allowed six or more goals, and the six-goal margin of defeat was their largest loss of the campaign.
Emil Bemstrom, Yegor Chinakhov (x2), Patrik Laine, Cole Sillinger, and Jack Roslovic provided the goals for the Blue Jackets. It's especially of note that it was those five because it speaks to the youth movement occurring in Columbus. Sillinger (18), Chinakhov (20), Bemstrom (22), and Laine (23) are all reaping the benefits of increased ice time under Brad Larsen. Roslovic (25) has had his struggles this season, but he looks to be turning it around as of late.
Elvis Merzlikins stopped all 31 of the shots he faced in an incredible performance. The Latvian netminder hadn't played since New Year's Day when he came in to relieve Joonas Korpisalo against the Hurricanes. Merzlikins made his return tonight after landing on the COVID-19 list.
Alexandre Texier also made his return to the lineup after missing the Blue Jackets' last four games due to testing positive for COVID-19. His line made a difference early, as Bemstrom scored his first goal of the season to give Columbus the advantage. Jack Roslovic attempted to put home a rebound but was stopped by Hurricanes netminder Frederik Andersen. After Andersen made the initial save, Bemstrom was able to bury the puck.
In the second period, Chinakhov doubled the Blue Jackets' lead, firing a wrister past Anderson after the young Russian found himself on a breakaway. It was Chinakhov's third goal of the season, and second in his last three games.
The Blue Jackets scored at least once in every period tonight, and providing the first goal in the third period was Laine, who unleashed an absolute missile past Andersen to make it 3-0 and give the Blue Jackets some breathing room.
37 seconds later, Chinakhov struck again to send the fans for the exits. This time, he showed his skill with the puck, executing a nifty toe-drag before flipping one past Andersen.
The Hurricanes pulled Andersen after Chinakhov's goal and replaced him with Jack LaFontaine, who promptly saw a wrist shot from Sillinger sail by him 30 seconds later to make it a 5-0 game.
To add the cherry on top, Jack Roslovic buried one with 5:34 remaining to push the Blue Jackets' advantage to six goals.
The Blue Jackets (17-17-1, 35 points, .500 P%) will head down to Florida to take on the Panthers (24-7-5, 53 points, .736 P%) for a Saturday night battle. Puck drop is slated for a slightly earlier-than-usual 6:00 p.m. EST.