Bjorkstrand and Roslovic Stay Hot, Merzlikins Stands Tall, Jackets Bounce Back in 5-2 Win over Tampa in Home Finale

By Coby Maeir on April 28, 2022 at 9:40 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets' Elvis Merzlikins deflects the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Maroon thought he had opened the scoring to give the Tampa Bay Lightning the lead.

But, the Columbus Blue Jackets had other ideas in their home finale.

Following a successful challenge by Columbus, the goal was waved off for goaltender interference and the game remained scoreless.

That was until Jake Voracek scored his sixth goal of the year, finishing off a one-timer from the right circle that was set up by a beautiful feed by rookie forward Kent Johnson, who picked up his third assist of the season.

Johnson played just 3:24 in the first period but made his presence known every time he was on the ice. Gabriel Carlsson picked up the secondary assist, his sixth helper of the year.

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The Jackets killed off their only penalty of the period when Jack Roslovic sat for two minutes for high-sticking. Elvis Merzlikins stopped all six shots he faced in the period. Lightning goaltender Brian Elliott stopped eight of nine Blue Jackets shots.

Columbus opened the second period on the power play but was not able to convert on the man-advantage. After Vladislav Gavrikov committed a tripping penalty less than three minutes into the frame, the Jackets were able to kill off the second Lightning power play of the game.

However, the Lightning were able to break through on the power play when Nikita Kucherov tied the game at one with 9:45 left in the period with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Just 32 seconds later, Cole Sillinger gave the Jackets a 2-1 lead with his 16th goal of the season. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Dean Kukan picked up their 29th and 8th assists of the season, respectively.

The second period ended with high tensions as Pat Maroon and Merzlikins were whacking each other’s sticks. A full-out scrum broke out but nothing too serious occurred.

The Jackets began the third period on the power-play, and took advantage of it, as Roslovic scored his 22nd goal of the season just 15 seconds into the final frame. Gus Nyquist and Jake Bean picked up their 30th and 17th assists of the season, respectively.

After multiple penalties were unsuccessful for both teams, Bjorkstrand scored his third goal in as many games and 27th of the season to extend the Columbus lead to 4-1 with 10:55 remaining in regulation. The goal was unassisted. 

With 3:06 remaining, Tampa Bay cut the lead to 4-2 on a 6-on-4 power-play goal by Corey Perry.

Injury Update

Several Jackets missed tonight’s game. The latest additions to the injury report were defensemen Zach Werenski and Nick Blankenburg, who missed tonight’s game and will miss tomorrow’s game as well. Both suffered upper-body injuries in Tuesday’s loss in Tampa. Sean Kuraly, Adam Boqvist, Patrik Laine, and Joonas Korpisalo were also scratched. 

Andrew Peeke sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with 1:51 remaining to give Columbus a 5-2 lead. The unassisted goal is Peeke’s second of the season.

  • Shots: 35-27 CBJ
  • PP: TBL 2/7, CBJ 1/4
  • Hits: 14-9 TBL
  • 3 stars: Cole Sillinger (3), Elvis Merzlikins (2), Oliver Bjorkstrand (1).

    Next Up

The Columbus Blue Jackets will play their final game of the 2021-22 regular season Friday night when they travel to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

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