GOLD STAR: Elvis Merzlikins has a shutout streak of 137:51 going for the Columbus Blue Jackets and made some very good saves behind a good defensive effort from the Blue Jackets while stopping 34 shots in shutting out the Bruins for the first time this season Tuesday night, 3-0.
The Jackets may have found their long-term goaltender amidst the injuries and the roster turnover this season and he played very well over the final 40 minutes as the B's got their bearings a little bit and fired 27 shots on net. The Bruins went all the way until this portion of the season before getting shut out, so it took a different goalie named Elvis in the building to finally keep the Black and Gold off the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, the Bruins didn't do a lot to make the Columbus goalie feel uncomfortable between the pipes after the Blue Jackets knocked Boston's goalie out of the game.
BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask literally gets the black eye as he was knocked out of the game only 1:12 in by a shot to the side of the head that concussed him. It was a dirty play by Columbus' Emil Bemstrom as he cruised by the front of the net. It went without even a penalty call from the refereeing crew, who apparently thought that Rask was caught with an inadvertent high stick.
So, Rask was done before he even managed to make a single save and instead Jaroslav Halak replaced him and allowed three goals. Now, for the second year in a row, Rask has a concussion right around NHL All-Star time and is probably going to be out of the lineup for a bit.
TURNING POINT: Rask was knocked out with a cheap shot to the side of the head and the Bruins did nothing in response.
They also did nothing on the scoreboard as they managed just seven shots on net in the first period and had no response either as a team on the ice or by taking control and gaining revenge by winning the game.
Instead, the Bruins shuffled through a meek first period and played a little better but never truly responded in the 40 minutes after while chasing the game against a strong defensive Columbus team protecting its lead. Certainly, it got better in the final 40 minutes, but the Bruins lost this game with everything that transpired in the first 20 minutes.
HONORABLE MENTION: Seth Jones didn't factor into the scoring, but he was tremendous. He played 27 minutes as the No. 1 defenseman for Columbus. Jones finished with a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts and four blocked shots while assisting Elvis the goalie in the shutout effort. He was part of the wall of defense for the Blue Jackets blocking shots and stifling the B's offense.
There were plenty of offensive contributions from assorted Columbus players as well up and down the roster, but Jones was one of the focal points for the Jackets in dealing the B's their first shutout loss of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the first shutout loss for the Bruins this season as they almost made it to the All-Star break without one.
"They are never going to win the cup if they are playing this soft."
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) January 15, 2020
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Should have our guys had a better response? I think there could have been...It was pointed out after the first period, that our goaltender got bumped. But listen, it's a little late then, you can't take the law into your own hands." –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in Columbus, when asked if there was enough of a response from his team after Rask was knocked out of the game.