Merzlikins stops 39 shots, Blue Jackets beat Canucks 4-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Elvis Merzlikins stopped 39 shots, Gustav Nyquist scored short-handed and had an assist, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat Vancouver Canucks 4-2 Friday night.
Jack Roslovic scored the tiebreaking goal 6:06 into the third period for Columbus, and Adam Boqvist and Max Domi also scored. The Blue Jackets have won three straight and four of five.
Vancouver has lost five in a row on the road. Vasily Podkolzin and Tyler Motte scored, and Thatcher Demko stopped 17 shots as the Canucks lost for the eighth time in their last nine games.
“Elvis gave us a chance to win,” Nyquist said. “We didn’t play up to our standards. It felt like we stole this one to be honest. We are happy. We will take any two points in the league, but we have to be much better tomorrow.”
Vancouver pulled even with 27.6 seconds left in the first period when Justin Dowling intercepted a clearing pass and fed Podkolzin for his fourth goal of the season.
“We were on our game,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “Our details were sharp. Give our group a lot of credit. They played a strong game and they’re gonna have to bounce back. It’s tough to lose when you play well. Especially when things are going the way they are.”
Despite being outshot 16-5, Columbus took the lead back at 6:17 of the second when Boqvist beat Demko with the rebound of Cole Sillinger’s shot for his second goal of the year.
“There was nothing pretty about it,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “Elvis was solid again in the net for us. He came up huge all game. I’m happy to win a game that way. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t perfect. But you are probably going to have to find a way to do it again.”
Vancouver again pulled even near the end of the period, with former Blue Jacket Motte tipping in Quinn Hughes’ blue-line shot at 18:42 for his second goal in six games since returning from offseason neck surgery.
Roslovic’s third goal of the season, a sniper shot from the point, put Columbus up 3-2. Jakub Voracek’s assist pushed his home point streak to six games and gave him an NHL-leading 14 primary assists.
Domi scored an empty-netter with 1:35 remaining in the game.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
The Blue Jackets have had 20 players record goals this season, while 22 of 24 skaters have recorded at least one point.
Canucks captain Bo Horvat has appeared in 264 consecutive regular season games, ranking 10th among active skaters in the NHL.
This Vancouver and Columbus matchup was the first since March 8, 2020, the last time either team played before the NHL suspended all contests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Columbus won 2-1.
Vancouver visits Boston on Sunday.
Columbus visits St. Louis on Saturday.
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