The Blue Jackets have ridden goaltender Elvis Merzlikins quite a bit down the stretch, but finally, the Latvian netminder gets a rest tonight in anaheim.
Merzlikins had started 11 consecutive games going into the contest against the Ducks, but Columbus will turn to Jean-Francois Berube tonight in the latter’s first start and game since Feb. 25 at Carolina.
Merzlikins has said he’s OK with the arrangement that has him working the bulk of the games down the stretch, and he has shown well, posting a .913 save percentage in those 11 starts.
“It’s a learning process for me, especially with all the back-to-back games,” he said after last night’s setback in Los Angeles. “I am feeling pretty good. I like how I feel. I like that I make mistakes because I can learn from them. If you ask me if it’s easy, no, of course, but I get paid to do that and I get paid pretty well for doing that, so I have to do it and I am happy to do it.”
Berube enters the game with a 3-1-0 record, 3.25 GAA and .924 save percentage.
3 Keys to the Game
Stay out of the box: Anaheim isn’t a great team when it comes to scoring, but it does have one of the better power plays in the game.
Generate more: The Blue Jackets struggled to create chances on Saturday in the loss to LA, and when they did, they were often blocked. Columbus has to get to the hard areas.
Let it rip: With the team eliminated from playoff contention Saturday, there’s no pressure left. Might as well go out and have some fun down the stretch.
forward Jack Roslović has five goals in the last three games and a career high of 17. … CBJ forward Justin Danford has goals in four of the last eight games. …With 11 goals of the year, both Zach Werenski and Adam Boqvist are tied for sixth all-time in single-season tallies among CBJ defensemen. … Werenski has points in 17 of the last 24 games (5-17-22) and has tied his career high of 47 points set in his rookie campaign of 2016-17. … Jakub Voracek‘s 49 assists this season are the fourth most in franchise history. … Sillinger’s 13 goals are tied for the fifth most in franchise history for a rookie (Nikolai Zherdev, 2003-04; Serge Aubin and David Vyborny, 2000-01). … Patrick Laine has a 20-21-41 line in the last 35 contests, plus 14 multipoint games in that span. … With 25 wins on the season, Merzlikins is eighth in franchise history for a single season. … Gustav Nyquist‘s four shorthanded goals on the season are tied for second in the NHL, and he has five assists in the last three games. … The Blue Jackets have set a new franchise record this year with 22 come-from-behind wins. Columbus also has eight wins when trailing after two periods, second in the NHL and the second most in franchise history. … Columbus lost the first matchup between the teams Dec. 9, with Anaheim taking a 2-1 victory in a shootout in Nationwide Arena. … The visiting team is 4-0-1 in the last five games of the series.
(Subject to change)
Gustav Nyquist – Jack Roslovic – Patrik Laine
Jakub Voracek- Cole Sillinger – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Kent Johnson -Justin Danforth- Emil Bemstrom
Eric Robinson – Sean Curaly – Carson Mayer
Zach Werenski- Andrew Peek
Vladislav Gavrykov – Nick Blankenburg
Jake Bean – Adam Boqvist
Jean-Francois Berube (confirmed starter)
Scratches: Brendan Gaunce, Gavin Bayreuther, Gabriel CarlsonDean Kucan
Unavailable: Yegor Chinakhov (upper body injury, day to day); joonas korpisalo (hip surgery, out for season); Boone Jenner (back, week to week); Daniel Tarasov (hip surgery, out for season); Alexandre Texier (indefinite leave of absence)
Roster Report: One CBJ player will be a game-time decision, while Merzlikins will be given a night off.
This Day in CBJ History
April 17, 2013: Fedor Tyutin scores at 2:19 of overtime to give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 win at Anaheim, the squad’s fifth straight victory amid a furious push to make the playoffs. The win, which also included goals from Blake Comeau and Matt Calvert, pushed Columbus into eighth place in the Western Conference.
April 17, 2015: The Blue Jackets reach an agreement with the Lake Erie Monsters to have the Cleveland-based team serve as the organization’s American Hockey League affiliate.
April 17, 2021: Carson Meyer signs a one-year, entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets.