Welcome to the new year. I was away for a couple of weeks decompressing and generally relaxing and doing as little as possible. While I was 'away' the Jackets had it locked in. Twelve games, all yielding points putting them back in the playoff conversation. They are not in a playoff spot yet, because of the huge hole they had to dig out of, but find themselves only 3 points behind FLA/PHI for that last WC spot.
Here are some interesting stats from that run:
Record: 8-0-4 (20 points)
Goals For: 36 (3 per game for)
Goals Against: 22 (1.83 per game against)
Six Overtime/Shootout games (2-3 record in OT; 0-1 record in SO)
2-0-1 record against league-leading WSH
4-0-3 road record including wins in Washington, New York (NYI) and Boston.
9 games allowing 2 or fewer goals (7-0-2)
Games Played by player: Cam 6; Bjork 7; Murray 3; Anderson 3; Nutivaara 0; Merzlikins 6
Injuries have been a issue here in Columbus. However, it doesn't seem to impact the on-ice product, in fact, it has forced them to work together and gel. Surprising players have been thrust into action and have delivered. Nathan Gerbe, Kevin Stenlund, Ryan MacInnis, Gabriel Carlsson and Andrew Peeke have all been shipped down I-71 from Cleveland and not looked one bit out of place. In fact Stenlund has seen top-PP-line minutes and found the back of the net 3 times (twice on the PP). But how long can this last? Here is a list of current CBJ players on the IR:
Cam Atkinson (not on IR but has not played since Dec 19)
Sonny Milano (just back from IR)
The events that have transpired from the officials not putting time back on the clock have been discussed. Torts has been fined for his comments (below).
This is footage of the Korpi injury. It didn't look like much. Toews didn't run into him, there was nothing dirty about the penalty shot that led to the injury. Just the fact that Z scored with time expiring and that if the clock was corrected earlier he may have had the game winner. Thus no shootout and no injury to Korpi. It's hard to directly connect those dots. But Torts certainly does his best...
Now the Jackets are forced to rely on Elvis Merzlikins as their #1 goalie for the foreseeable future. In his first 4 games as the undisputed starting goalie, he had a 3-1 record, made 128 of 135 saves (.948) and allowed 3-goals-or-less in each game. It looks like he has some confidence as the starter.
After defeating the lowly Kings last night, despite a very slow start, the Jackets continue the west coast roadie with the Ducks tonight, Sharks (who ended the points streak in Columbus) on Thursday and Golden Knights on Saturday. While the Ducks, Sharks and Kings are at the bottom of the Pacific the Knights are at the top. And a west coast swing is never easy, so netting that first win was essential. Two out of the last three would be nice, but two-out-of-four isn't bad either.