Columbus Blue Jackets Dominate Carolina Hurricanes In Statement Win
The Columbus Blue Jackets humiliated the top team in the Metropolitan Division on Thursday night, marking the first victory for the Union Blue over the Hurricanes since March 18th, 2021.
No one, including myself, expected Columbus to end the night as victors. Brad Larsen and the Jackets haven’t beaten Carolina this season, and the losses have been brutal. The last thing I expected, as did the rest of the hockey world, was a Columbus shutout against the third strongest team in the league.
Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins has had an inconsistent season so far, and hadn’t started between the pipes in twelve days. The Latvian native last started against Carolina, on New Year’s Day, where he gave up four goals and didn’t make it out of the first period before being pulled in favor of netminder Daniil Tarasov, who is currently on the injured reserve.
However, Merzlikins proved he hadn’t forgotten giving up four goals to Carolina only twelve days ago, and recording his first shutout of the 2021-2022 season. The Columbus offense certainly fired on all cylinders, scoring four goals on superstar goaltender Frederik Anderson, before scoring two on replacement netminder Jack LaFontaine.
Goals by Emil Bemstrom, Patrik Laine, Cole Sillinger, and Jack Roslovic certainly provided Merzlikins some insurance goals, but what sparked the scoring by Columbus was a second-period breakaway goal by 2020 first-round pick Yegor Chinakov, who later added on another goal early in the third period.
Columbus’ defense certainly made an impact as well, forcing seventeen giveaways by the Hurricanes, an astoundingly large number for a team whose passing is crisper than the Ohio winter morning air. The Blue Jackets also only allowed thirty-one shots on goal by Carolina, which allowed Merzlikins to be focused on stopping shots, instead of playing catch-up.
This certainly was a statement win for Columbus, who will look to keep the positive momentum when they travel to Florida Saturday night to take on the Panthers.