Blue Jackets Defeat Red Wings Behind Strong Play of Elvis Merzlikins, Zach Werenski

By Jacob Nitzberg on February 7, 2020 at 9:35 pm
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Nothing feels better than two points on Friday night.

That's exactly what the Blue Jackets got tonight, defeating the Red Wings, 2-0.

Elvis Merzlikins notched another shutout, saving all 16 shots and continuing his red-hot play. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard played a fantastic game, saving 43 out of 44 shots.

Zach Werenski scored the game-winning goal for the Blue Jackets, breaking his own record for the most goals by a defenseman in a single season in Blue Jackets history. Boone Jenner added an empty-netter.

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RED WINGS 0 0 0 0

In the first period, the Blue Jackets generated the majority of the chances. Robby Fabbri hit the post for the Red Wings, but the score remained 0-0 after 20 minutes.

The Blue Jackets came out strong in the second period, and they were rewarded for their efforts. Werenski (17) scored on a delayed penalty to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead on a beautiful feed from the captain, Nick Foligno.

At the end of the second period, shots were 29-9, Blue Jackets. That's not a typo.

In the third period, the Blue Jackets continued their strong play. Jenner (9) added an empty-netter with 90 seconds left to secure two points for the boys in blue.

Injury Update

Alexander Wennberg was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Josh Anderson and Joonas Korpisalo have been skating, but their return dates are unknown. 

Next Up

The Blue Jackets will take on the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m.

Game Notes

  • The Blue Jackets won their third-straight game and pushed their point streak to 10 games (9-0-1).  It’s the Jackets’ second-longest point streak this season (8-0-4; Dec. 9, 2019-Jan. 2, 2020).
  • With the win, the 2019-20 Blue Jackets are the first team in club history to have two different point streaks of 10-plus games in the same season.
  • The win is Columbus’ season-high sixth straight victory at home.  The Blue Jackets are 10-1-1 in their past 12 home games, outscoring opponents 36-14 over that span. The six-game home win streak is tied for the fourth-longest home win streak in club history.
  • Tonight’s contest concluded the Jackets’ season series with Detroit (3-0-0). Columbus is 10-2-0 in its last 12 meetings with the Red Wings and have now won four-straight season series vs. the club (three series sweeps).
  • Columbus wrapped up a four-game stretch vs. Atlantic Division opponents tonight (3-0-1), propelling its point streak vs. the division to nine games (7-0-2). The Blue Jackets are 12-2-3 vs. Atlantic opponents this season and 17-3-3 since Feb. 22, 2019.
  • Columbus has picked up points in 18-straight games vs. Eastern Conference opponents (14-0-4), including wins in nine of its last 10 games within the East since Dec. 31. The 18-game point streak is tied for the seventh-longest streak against intraconference opponents within a regular season in the NHL since 1974-75.
  • The Jackets’ 18-game run of points vs. Eastern Conference foes is the longest streak since the Boston Bruins had points in 19-straight games vs. the Eastern Conference from Dec. 16, 2017-Feb. 7, 2018 (16-0-3).
  • Columbus outshot the Red Wings 44-to-16 in the game.  The Blue Jackets’ plus-28 shot differential is the club’s largest in a win in franchise history (47-20, Plus-27; April 27, 2013, in 3-1 win vs. Nashville).
  • Columbus went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill in the game.  The Blue Jackets have killed off 29-of-31 penalties on home ice over their last 12 home games (93.5 pct.).  The club’s 93.5 pct. penalty kill rate at home since Dec. 16 leads the NHL.
    Tonight’s attendance was a sellout crowd of 18,978, the Blue Jackets’ largest crowd of the season.
  • D Zach Werenski set a new club record for goals by a defenseman in a single season with his 17th goal of the campaign (Werenski and Jones, 16 in 2017-18).  He’s found the back of the net in back-to-back games and is three goals clear of the next closest NHL defensemen on the year.  He has 2-3-5 in his past seven games overall and 1-3-4 in his last four games vs. Detroit.  The Grosse Point, Michigan native finished with five shots, a takeaway and a blocked shot in the game and led all CBJ skaters with 24:29 TOI.
  • G Elvis Merzlikins recorded his fifth shutout in his last eight starts with a 16-save performance. His five shutouts this season lead the NHL.  The Latvian goaltender is the only rookie goaltender to have eight-straight wins this season.  He is just the fourth rookie netminder in NHL history to record five shutouts in a span of eight games, joining Tiny Thompson (1928-29), Dolly Dolson (1928-19) and Frank Brimsek (1938-39).
  • LW Nick Foligno had the primary assist on the Werenski goal for his 17th helper of the season. He ranks fourth on the club in assists and he has 2-6-8 in his last nine home contests.  The Blue Jackets’ captain led CBJ with a career-high nine shots in the game, surpassing the eight he recorded on Jan. 8, 2011 vs. Tampa Bay.
  • LW Gustav Nyquist added an assist on Jenner’s goal, giving him 2-2-4 in his past five games.  He recorded a point in all three games vs. Detroit this season (1-3-4).
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