What a night!
First we had the beautiful and moving tributes to Matiss Kivlenieks. Then, we witnessed a game unlike any in years. In Period 1 we saw goals from both Texier and Bjorkstrand. Texier’s goal was so early into the game, if you blinked, you missed it. This took us into the second period with a 2-0 Blue Jackets lead.
In Period 2 we saw the new Captain, Jenner, score his first goal with his new title and jersey. This would take us to a 3-0 Blue Jackets lead. The Coyotes would then score, by way of Straiman. However, Bjorkstrand would strike a second time, taking us to a 4-1 Blue Jackets lead. Bean would then score also, making it a 5-1 Blue Jackets lead, going into the third period.
In that third period, Werenski would score, 6-1 Blue Jackets. This was followed up by a Domi goal, with an assist by Sillinger. Domi returning early from shoulder surgery, and this being Sillinger’s first NHL game and goal, made this 7-1 lead all the sweeter. Keller would score for the Coyotes, 8-2. This would be quickly answered by the new Alternate Captain, Nyquist. Another sweet moment for a player who also had shoulder surgery, but to an extensive point, missing the full 2020-2021 season.
Merzlikins put on a great game, in his 80 Jersey, honoring Kivlenieks, his Latvian “brother”. He stopped 36 of the 38 shots on goal, by the Arizona Coyotes. The shot count for the Columbus Blue Jackets was 26. Elvis was “Very happy and Very thankful,” tonight. With 8 goals in their 21st season opener, they set their franchise record for such. Merzlikins admitted he had tears, at several points tonight, and I feel I can speak for us all when I say, we all shared in such emotion with him.
This night was thee best it could have been, I think. We look forward to game 2 of the 82 game regular season. This will be also at home, in Nationwide Arena, against the newest NHL Franchise, Seattle Kraken. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM, Saturday October 16th.
Until then 5th Line, go CBJ!