Mon, 17 Feb 2020

Merzlikins blanks Devils as Jackets win 4th straight

Field Level Media
19 Jan 2020, 12:55 GMT+10

Columbus rookie goaltender Elvis Merzlikins stopped 41 shots for this third shutout of the season and the Blue Jackets defeated the visiting New Jersey Devils 5-0 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.

Cam Atkinson scored twice, and Alexander Wennberg, Jakob Lilja and Nick Foligno also scored for Columbus, which is 14-2-4 in their past 20 games. The Blues Jackets are 7-1-1 in the past eight home games, outscoring the opposition 30-11.

Atkinson, who added an assist, has five points (three goals, two assists) in two games since returning after missing 12 games with an ankle sprain.

Devils starter Cory Schneider allowed four goals on 17 shots before being pulled in favor of Mackenzie Blackwood. After two relief appearances this week, Schneider was making his first NHL start since Nov. 8.

Blackwood, who had missed four games with an upper-body injury, stopped 14 of 15 shots for the Devils, who have lost three straight and are 2-5-1 in their past eight games as they enter their bye week.

Atkinson made it 1-0 at 14:49 of the first period on the rush when he crossed the blue and fired a wrist shot between two defensemen that eluded Schneider glove side.

The Blue Jackets led 2-0 after Atkinson took a from Emil Bemstrom on the rush and fired a wrist shot just inside the post at 8:40 of the second period.

Columbus broke it open with two goals 16 seconds apart midway through the period.

Lilja made it 3-0 when he knocked in his own rebound at 11:58, then Foligno knocked in a pass loose puck in front of Schneider at 12:14 for his second goal in two games.

The Blue Jackets increased the lead to 5-0 with 1:06 left in the period when Wennberg took a pass from Atkinson on the rush and scored on wrist shot from the top of the left circle.

--Field Level Media

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