Last week was a below-average week for the Blue Jackets. It started off with not only a victory against Washington, but an impressive 5-2 victory over the best team in the league. Three days later, they went up against a depleted Penguins squad that was without both of their top tier stars in Crosby and Malkin. Hey if they can take down the Caps, this should be cake! As reality would have it, that ended up not being the outcome as Columbus was embarrassingly on the receiving end of a 1-0 shutout.
There was still the Saturday game against Ottawa. Let’s finish on a high note and take two out of three for the week. Sadly, that was not to be the case. The Senators and the Jackets took the contest to overtime where Ottawa came out ahead, 4-3. While they lost two out of three games for the week, there is always the glass-half-full viewpoint where you can say the team earned three out of a possible six points.
Coach Tortorella and crew entered this past week with a below .500 record, but then again, expectations have been down this year compared to last. Once again, CBJ started off the week against Metro division rival Washington. They didn’t unload another five goals on Braden Holtby, but they did muster three while Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 30 shots he faced.
With another game the next night, a coach would normally sit whichever goalie started the night before. However, as has been the case with backup Elvis Merzlikins, there have been no wins with him in net. Needless to say, head coach John Tortorella does not have the highest confidence in Merzlikins at this point. With all of that in mind, Korpisalo got the uncommon back-to-back nod for the Tuesday game against Detroit.
Korpisalo may have only had 18 saves on 21 shots, but in his defense, those three he allowed can be classified as rather flukey goals. Nevertheless, the Jackets found their offense once again and scored five on Detroit for the 5-3 final.
The Kings came to town Thursday night, which like the game against Ottawa, turned into another overtime contest. This time, however, Pierre-Luc Dubois made sure that the outcome wouldn’t match that of the Senators game as he rifled a snapshot past L.A. goalie Jack Campbell at 1:11 into OT.
It was the Blue Jackets’ third consecutive win, now securing eight out of nine points over the two-week span. Columbus takes on New Jersey tonight at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena as they look to notch four wins in four games this week. The Devils are without star forward Taylor Hall as he was recently dealt to the Arizona Coyotes, but make no mistake, a team that underperforms has nothing to lose and can pull out all the stops to win one.
It’ll be another hard-fought matchup but momentum can be an ugly juggernaut for the opposition.