Columbus had only 1 point in their past 5 games. Games that read like this:
Oct 26 @ PHI L 7 - 4
Oct 30 v. EDM L 4 - 1
Nov 1 @ STL OTL 4 - 3 (one point)
Nov 2 v. CGY L 3 - 0
Nov 5 v. VGK L 2 -1
A record of 0 - 4 - 1 with Elvis salvaging the only point against STL in an OTL.
Korpi went 0 - 4 in that stretch giving up 15 goals and being pulled against EDM. The CBJ react by sending Elvis Merzlikins to Cleveland and calling up Matiss Kivlenieks. Matiss has played well in the AHL but will not likely see much playing time at the NHL level. That has also been the case for Elvis. I believe that the move was two-pronged. One, it gets Elvis some much needed ice time. He will get to play consistently and have a chance to see live game action. It also does something I am a huge fan of which is, Two, removes pressure from Korpi. How, you ask? Kivlenieks is not a threat to take the starting role. In fact he is just happy to be here in Columbus, well somewhere between Arizona and Colorado anyway.
My point is that the CBJ brass has put their full faith and trust in Korpi as the #1 with this move. It should give him some added confidence to know the net is his night-in-night-out. But the other thing is does is sever as his test. There is no safety net, it is sink-or-swim time.
With the W in ARI on Thursday night, Joonas has given up just 2 goals in each of his last three starts. He made some HUGE saves against the speedy Grabner who managed to sneak undetected for at least 3 breakaways. Those saves were when the CBJ found themselves behind and/or tied in this game.
JK has made 79 of 85 saves for a .929 Sv% over the last three while only giving up 2 goals in each tilt. The Jackets have scored 4 goals over that same stretch. Columbus forwards left more pucks in the blue paint behind Fleury than they have goals all season. That is an exaggeration, I know, but there were goals to be had against VGK.
I am going to beat my drum again for a scoring forward. Joonas has been solid, good, NHL starter able all season. The problem is not with goaltending. Columbus has 38 goals for. The only team in the league worse is the Detroit Red Wings with 35. Four goals in a game is the Jackets season high and they have only done it 4 times (in 16 games), once in a 7 - 4 loss to PHI and three times in OTWs.
I have faith in Jarmo. He has been looking for scoring since July 1 (and probably before). If a deal makes sense he will make it. The problem is the longer the wait drags out, the more points slip away, the closer Columbus comes to being a seller rather than a buyer. The pieces people would want are pieces that most would agree should stay in Columbus. Anderson, PLD, Savard...those are not the guys Columbus wants leaving. But those are the guys others would be asking for.
One Good Bounce
Players, coaches and fans always talk about bounces in hockey. Bad bounces, good bounces, rolling pucks...the hockey gods...
Can one good bounce and one true strike of a rolling puck change a season? It changed last night's game and became the game winner. Could it change the luck of the CBJ moving forward and provide some confidence? Here's hoping.
There was certainly a TON of 'puck luck' on this play. PLD's pass is deflected by a Coyote's defender (1), the bouncing puck eluded a swipe by a second ARI defender (2), Bjork got 'good wood' on a puck that is on edge (3) and swept it on cage past Kemper (4). There is good coverage on this play by ARI. The pass is deflected, the defense all have good position until spinning puck goes through the wickets of the last defender.
With more puck luck, this team can still contend, but some skill plays and goal scoring by the goal scorers would certainly go a long way to climbing the standings too.
CBJ is off to COL for a game Saturday then has a bit of a break before MON next Wednesday.