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Merzlikins gets first NHL shutout, Blue Jackets top Golden Knights

Makes 27 saves for Columbus, which has point in 15 of past 17 games @NHLdotcom

Merzlikins' first NHL shutout

Merzlikins records first NHL shutout

Elvis Merzlikins was masterful in net, keeping the Golden Knights scoreless to record his first NHL shutout

  • 03:13 •

Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.

"I dreamed about it. Why not? It would be a great feeling to get my first NHL shutout here in Vegas," Merzlikins said. "I saw today people were pumping up, they did a picture of me, that I am in the building. It was pretty funny.

"I'm really, really happy and really thankful to my teammates."


[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Golden Knights highlights]


Alexander Wennberg scored his first goal in 36 games for the Blue Jackets (22-16-8), who have a point in 10 of their past 11 road games (7-1-3) and 15 of their past 17 games overall (11-2-4).

"I thought we played really good as a team," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "And when we had breakdowns, Elvis was strong."

Video: Merzlikins earns Saturday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves for the Golden Knights (24-18-6), who lost the final three games of a seven-game homestand after winning the first four.

"It was kind of a frustrating game, but you knew it was going to be a tight-checking game," Vegas forward Paul Stastny said. "Obviously, [Fleury] played good, and then we don't put up anything offensively, so there's not much we can do."

Columbus scored twice in 5:28 spanning the first and second periods.

Emil Bemstrom scored on the power play with 3:22 left in the first period for a 1-0 lead, and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored 2:06 into the second to extend the lead to 2-0.

Video: CBJ@VGK: Dubois scores in traffic

"It feels like we got energized after the first goal and the second also, and just kept going after that," Bemstrom said.

Wennberg made it 3-0 at 8:26 of the third period with his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 21.

"It's a huge goal," Tortorella said. "I think [Wennberg's] looking to pass, [Seth Jones] is coming down the other lane, but obviously 2-0 to 3-0, I think that takes the wind out of their sails."

Video: CBJ@VGK: Wennberg beats Fleury with wrister

Vegas outshot Columbus 20-9 in the last two periods.

"Sometimes they're wide-open games, sometimes they're tight-checking games," Stastny said. "Those games you just have to be patient, you just keep playing and not try forcing things. You know we had a couple good looks and their goalie made a couple big stops."

Merzlikins played his 17th NHL game, all this season. He celebrated his fifth win by playing an air guitar after the buzzer.

"I had to, I had to, we are in Vegas," he said. "Now we go enjoy it."


They said it

"It's kind of a playoff atmosphere every time you play here. The music's loud, the fans are going. It can work on both sides, I think. Obviously, them being at home it can work on their side, but before the game, after warmups, we were all coming in here laughing because it's so fun. It's like a playoff game. The atmosphere here is crazy." -- Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois

"Tonight we just didn't have enough of a nose to the grindstone type of mentality to get to the net and put pucks in. Then you know they're an opportunistic team. They block shots, they play good defense, they had really good goaltending tonight and they scored on their opportunities." -- Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt


Need to know

Golden Knights forward Keegan Kolesar had one shot and two hits in 12:06 of ice time in his NHL debut. Originally selected by the Blue Jackets in the third round (No. 69) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Kolesar was acquired by Vegas in a trade with Columbus during the 2017 NHL Draft. ... Blue Jackets forward Kevin Stenlund got his first two NHL assists; he had three goals in his first 17 games (13 this season). ... Fleury failed to tie Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers for fifth in wins in NHL history (458).


What's next

Blue Jackets: Host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, FS-O, NESN, NHL.TV)

Golden Knights: At the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Merzlikins, Jackets shut out Golden Knights

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