Blue Jackets Dominated by Penguins in Elvis Merzlikins' First NHL Start

By Chris Pennington on October 5, 2019 at 7:09 pm
Alexander Wennberg
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Not the start to the season the Columbus Blue Jackets were looking for.

The Blue Jackets have now lost their first to games after being defeated by a score of 7-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. Columbus has scored just three goals and conceded 11 in these two outings, which is hopefully not a sign of things to come for a depleted offense because of free agency losses.

Elvis Merzlikins didn't have a first-career-start for the agers, per se, ending the contest with a .825 save percentage and allowing seven goals on 40 shots. Turnovers didn't do any favors for Merzlikins by any means, but the way-too-quick judgment of the first two games of the season for the Blue Jackets is an unproductive offense leading to the goaltenders getting lit up.

After a scoreless opening period the then saw the Penguins go up 2-0 early in the second, Zach Werenski responded with his first goal of the season at the 13:15 minute mark. This was, unfortunately, the only hope the Blue Jackets were given the rest of the evening. Pittsburgh responded with three more goals to conclude the period, including a dagger with 1.2 seconds remaining.

Shots were 24-24 to begin the third period, a true indication of the Blue Jackets' ability to generate scoring chances but not be able to bury them early on, and then the wheels really fell off the wagon. Pittsburgh jumped up to a lead of 7-1 halfway through the third, and Gustav Nyquist followed up with his first goal as a Blue Jacket, thanks to Riley Nash's second assist of the night, to temporarily stop the bleeding.

  1 2 3 F
Blue Jackets 0 1 1 2
PENGUINS 0 5 2 7

Injury Update

There are no injuries to report. Brandon Dubinsky remains out for a while due to a wrist injury and is on injured reserve. 

Next Up

The Blue Jackets seek their first win of the season on Monday evening as they host the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. at Nationwide Arena.

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