COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Blue Jackets began their 2021-22 season with a bang, or more aptly a blast, as the cannon fired eight times in Columbus’ record-breaking 8-2 beat down of Arizona on Thursday in Brad Larsen’s CBJ head coaching debut.
Eight goals in a season opener is a franchise record for the Blue Jackets and most since November 2016.
Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins turned in a solid first-game performance while wearing the No. 80 jersey of Matiss Kivlenieks who was memorialized prior to puck drop.
“It was my most important game,” Merzlikins said. “I didn’t want to embarrass the number for the first and last game I wear that number. I am happy and proud of myself that I could handle it and obviously the team helped me.”
Seven different players scored in the win, including new team captain Boone Jenner as well as newly minted alternate captain Oliver Bjorkstrand who netted two goals and added two assists. Max Domi, who underwent shoulder surgery in June and wasn’t expected back until November, contributed three points against his former team to kick off his second year in Columbus.
Alexandre Texier got the scoring started 40 seconds into the game, the second-fastest goal in CBJ history.
Bjorkstrand scored on a power play, something Columbus struggled with throughout last season, to give CBJ a 2-0 lead with 5:55 left in the first period.
Jenner was at the receiving end of a masterful coast to coast skate by Max Domi who wrapped a shot around the net, which deflected of the goalie and onto the stick of Jenner who buried it for a 3-0 lead early in the second period.
Bjorkstrand’s second goal came on a deflection off a Coyotes defender followed three minutes later by Jake Bean’s first goal as a Blue Jacket after signing a three-year deal with CBJ in the offseason. Zach Werenski, Domi and Gustav Nyquist scored the last three goals, giving CBJ a statement win to begin the season.