Battered Blue Jackets bid for third straight win, host Wings

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been losing players and gaining points.That’s an unusual combination for a team that lost nine of its first 12 games.Just this week, three players were placed on injured reserve and another, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, will be out at least a week with a lower-body ailment.The Blue Jackets have shown their depth over the past four games, collecting seven out of a possible eight points (3-0-1). They’ll look for two more when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.Columbus has won its last two games, posting a 5-4 overtime victory versus the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday and a 6-4 triumph against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.Joonas Korpisalo made 38 saves in the victory over the Canadiens.”This wasn’t pretty (Thursday) at all, but you have to win ugly in this league at times,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “I thought ‘Korpi’ was outstanding. He didn’t have a ton of work in the first. He made some good saves, but the second and third he was busy. He was way too busy for my liking, but I don’t think it was for a lack of (trying). For whatever reason, it felt like we had one of those grenades with the pin pulled and we were just throwing it back and forth to each other.”Fortunately, the Blue Jackets exploded for four goals in the third period against Montreal. Sean Kuraly scored midway through the period to give them a 4-3 lead, and a minute later he assisted on Mathieu Olivier’s first goal since March 25, 2021.”It was about time,” Olivier said. “It was way overdue. Especially last year with the year I went through, I didn’t get a goal in the NHL last year. Yeah, it’s been a long time. I knew I could do it. I had some chances the last few games, I felt like, and it finally goes in.”