Despite their diminished roster from the summer and a plethora of young players added to the team, the Columbus Blue Jackets have persevered going toe-to-toe against several other teams that they should have lost to. Most recently, they shut out Ottawa last week and then proceeded to throw a beat-down on Pittsburgh.
On Saturday night, Columbus faced off against Metro Division rival, the New York Islanders, who have lost a mere five games this season to the Jackets’ 10 going into the contest. Despite that, the Islanders were on a three-game winless streak and were looking for blood in the water. After downing the Penguins, the Blue Jackets hopes were high heading into the November 30th game. Unfortunately for Columbus, the Islanders aren’t the Penguins.
It was a goalie carousel on Saturday as Islanders starter Thomas Greiss left the game shortly after five minutes had passed in the first period. Backup Semyon Varlamov made a whopping 30 saves in replacing Greiss. On the Columbus side of things, rookie Elvis Merzlikins, still seeking his first NHL win, started and made an impressive 25 saves but got absolutely no scoring support from his teammates. The two goals he allowed were enough for the Long Island squad to knock out a victory. Meanwhile, that first NHL win still proves to be elusive for the young Latvian net minder.