The Columbus Blue Jackets have been one of the more disappointing teams in the NHL this season, following up two impressive playoff performances by torpedoing to the bottom of the Central Division standings.
The season has hit a new low for the team recently and Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning extended its current winless streak to eight games (0-7-1). Since March 22, the Blue Jackets have the worst winning percentage in the NHL, .176, and a 2-13-2 record.
After Thursday's loss, goaltender Elvis Merzlikins opened up about how difficult it is to play when the team is losing as often as it is.
"I'm tired. I'm tired of losing the game," Merzlikins said. "I know we are trying but this is getting embarrassing."
Much of the Blue Jackets' struggles this season have been on offence, with the team entering play Thursday 28th in the NHL with 2.37 goals per game. The team's 2.00 goals per game rate in April is the worst in the NHL.
For his part, Merzlikins has been decent this season, posting a .910 save percentage in 22 games entering play Thursday, which is slightly down from the .923 save percentage that helped him finish fifth in Calder Trophy voting last season.
Those numbers aren't likely to improve in the finals weeks of the season. With the playoffs out of reach, the team's roster is a shell of the group that has made the post-season in each of the past four years. Long-time veterans David Savard, Nick Foligno and Riley Nash were traded at the deadline while key players Zach Werenski and Boone Jenner are out with season-ending injuries.
Add in living under the difficult restrictions that come with a global pandemic and this has been a trying season all around for the Blue Jackets. The team only has seven games left before it can put it behind them.
"It is what it is. I'm going to be honest with you guys, it's painful," Merzlikins said. "It's just really (such) a bad year I just want to finish and delete this year and not think about it."