Elvis Merzlikins Has to Keep His Emotions in Check for the Blue Jackets

The young Blue Jackets need their goaltending to be at its best to have a chance to win on any given night. Elvis Merzlikins is at his best when he just stops pucks. He has to find a way to keep his emotions in check.

Mar 12, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) looks on
Mar 12, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins (90) looks on / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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Realistically, the Blue Jackets never stood a chance last night against the Winnipeg Jets. The NHL schedule makers threw them an anchor, whether they meant to or not.

The Jackets were just about 20 hours removed from a game against the San Jose Sharks when the puck dropped last night. Worse than the quick turn-around on a back-to-back: their opponent was the 5th best team in the NHL by points percentage.

The Jets came to town with a day off, having traveled from Winnipeg after a 6-0 thrashing to the Anaheim Ducks - one of just three teams behind the Jackets in the overall standings. Like I said, it was going to be tough sledding last night, no matter how I break it down.

But, there's a reason they play the games. Anything can happen on any given night, and you never know when a plucky young team can surprise one of the league's best. We saw it just two weeks ago, when the Jackets thumped the red hot Edmonton Oilers. They have surprised us before.

It wasn't meant to be last night. The Jets struck early in the first. They struck early in the second. They made it 3-0 halfway through, and seemed pretty content. They simply hung back, kept the game boring from a CBJ perspective, and then pounced on their opportunities at the other end.

I think a 3-0 game against a team this caliber is something you can swallow pretty easily, especially given the circumstances. The concerning thing for me, is what happened next.

Elvis Merzlikins made a save, and had the puck bouncing in front of him. Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele swung at it, trying to bat it out of the air; only to slash Elvis across the mid-section as he corralled the puck.

I've watched this game for a very long time, and have seen this exact play take place countless times. Usually, the result is a few shoves, some (not) polite words, and then everyone goes their separate ways.

That would all be fine. I have no problem with Elvis giving a chop as Scheifele rolls by. I didn't even mind him chesting up and everyone scrumming. The problem is, he just wouldn't let it go. It became obvious on the very next shot he faced.