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game recap

Merzlikins has 16-save shutout for Blue Jackets against Red Wings

Wins eighth start in row; Howard makes 42 saves but takes 18th straight loss

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

Merzlikins' lunging blocker save

DET@CBJ: Merzlikins denies Filppula with blocker

Elvis Merzlikins stops a 2-on-1 by lunging to his right and making a great blocker save to deny Valtteri Filppula in the 2nd period

  • 00:32 •

COLUMBUS -- Elvis Merzlikins made 16 saves for his second straight shutout and fifth in eight games when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

Merzlikins is the first NHL rookie to have five shutouts in an eight-game span since Frank Brimsek had six in seven games for the Boston Bruins in 1938-39. The other rookies to do so were Tiny Thompson of the Bruins (seven games) and Dolly Dolson of the Detroit Cougars, each in 1928-29.

"It's positive for me and the team we got the win. That's what matters," Merzlikins said.


[WATCH: All Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets highlights]


He preserved the shutout with a glove save on a shot by Robby Fabbri with nine seconds left.

"We didn't give them much but [Merzlikins] made a couple of big saves for us," Columbus coach John Tortorella said.

Video: Merzlikins earns Friday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Jimmy Howard allowed one goal and made 42 saves for Detroit but lost his 18th straight decision (0-16-2). The Red Wings (13-39-4), who defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday for their first win in 10 games, are 4-17-1 in their past 22 games.

"They're a strong forechecking team, a big team that skates well," Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader said. "Their [defensemen] can really skate up the ice. ... We had [two] power plays, but nothing was going in. It was one of those grind 'em out games, especially on a back-to-back."

The Blue Jackets (30-16-9) are 9-0-1 in their past 10 games and 19-2-5 in their past 26.

"We're really confident in ourselves right now, and that has to be the case," Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. "It has to be a momentum builder for us."

Merzlikins, who has won eight starts in a row, made 32 saves in a 1-0 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. His winning streak is a record for a Blue Jackets rookie.

Zack Werenski scored on a delayed penalty for a 1-0 lead at 4:57 of the second period. His 17th goal of the season broke the Blue Jackets record for a defenseman he and Seth Jones accomplished two seasons ago.

Video: DET@CBJ: Werenski scores to set franchise record

The Red Wings had killed a penalty when another was called. The Blue Jackets kept possession for 95 seconds before Foligno came down the slot and passed to Werenski for a one-timer from the right circle.

"They held it for a while, wore us down, made a great play," Detroit forward Dylan Larkin said.

Merzlikins stopped a shorthanded rush at 2:35 with an extended right arm save against Valtteri Filppula off a pass from Abdelkader. It drew a long ovation from the fans.

"They're unbelievable," Merzlikins said. "They're helping not only me, they're helping the team. This is a huge help for the team trying to win games."

Columbus outshot Detroit 21-4 in the second period for a 31-9 advantage. Foligno (nine shots) and Cam Atkinson (eight) combined to outshoot the Red Wings in the game.

"We had the chances after two periods at 10-9, so it was a really close game," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "You look at the shots, it's really lopsided. … We had tons of opportunities to shoot the puck. We just couldn't shoot enough. We've got to shoot more."

Boone Jenner made it 2-0 with an empty-net goal at 18:35 of the third period. His ninth goal was his first in 15 games.


They said it

"They just throw pucks at the net. They're one of those teams that's got big bodies up front. They like to work it down low and throw it to the middle and just crash. A lot of shots were in tight." -- Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard

"We didn't change the way we played, just found a way to get two big goals. That's the way we've kind of won these games all year long. I'm proud of the guys for finding a way against a team that's playing pretty free right now. They didn't have much to lose, and it was two big points for us." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno


Need to know

The Columbus record for fewest saves in a shutout is held by Steve Mason, who made 15 saves in a 2-0 win against the Atlanta Thrashers on Nov. 22, 2008. The NHL record is held by Chris Osgood, who made eight saves for Detroit in a 3-0 win against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 27, 1995. There have been 179 NHL shutouts with fewer than 16 saves. ... Howard's streak is the second longest since the shootout was adopted for the 2005-06 NHL season. Cory Schneider lost 21 straight games (0-17-4) for the New Jersey Devils from Dec. 29, 2017 to Feb. 14, 2019. ... Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey left the game after the first period with an undisclosed injury. ... Red Wings forward Darren Helm (undisclosed) was scratched and replaced by Brendan Perlini, who had two shots playing 13:05. ... Detroit was twice penalized for too many men on the ice. ... The Blue Jackets' plus-28 shot differential (44-16) was the largest in a win in their history; they were plus-27 (47-20) in a 3-1 win against the Nashville Predators on April 27, 2013.


What's next

Red Wings: Host the Boston Bruins on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVAS)

Blue Jackets: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, ALT2, NHL.TV)

Video: Blue Jackets shut out Red Wings

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