As David Perron demonstrated with his game winner just eight seconds into overtime last night, sometimes shit shouldn’t get as far as it gets. Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins looked scattershot all night (acrobatic saves are sometimes the result of being out of position, just saying), but it was the Blues who gave up the last 4.7 second goal at the end of the first, and then who allowed two more goals in the second thanks to sloppy defense. The trend of taking the middle of a game off has been one that’s existed for the Blues for several seasons now, and thankfully a strong third period and exploitation of a young goaltender got the Blues back into the game enough for David Perron to score his overtime game-winner much like he did against the Red Wings. That too was another game that went farther than it should’ve.
The Blues, in contrast, didn’t let the Wild control the game on Wednesday night. Did they let them back into the game? Yes, but at no point could anyone look at the game and go “this is not good.” It was just a tight game.
For the Wild, it was a moral victory. Tonight, the 4-9-0 Wild could really use an actual victory, especially against the Central Division, who they have yet to win against. They’ve been off since Wednesday night, so tonight they’ll be the fresh team. The Blues, however, will be starting a road trip that will see them hit Western Canada’s three biggest towns - always a tough trip for them. Starting off tonight with a win, finishing the Wild off decisively, would be an excellent way for the team to kick off a tough stretch of this young season.
They’ve won three games in a row and are back atop the Central Division for now. As we learned last season, streaks are good. They’re more exciting when they’re part of an improbable playoff push, but don’t discount how key they can be when your team needs to bank points early and bank points often.