A positive start from Elvis Merzlikins.
Elvis Merzlikins played his best game of the season but it wasn't enough to win as Darcy Kuemper registered a 37-save shutout as the Blue Jackets fell to the Capitals 1-0 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Sunday.
Erik Gustafsson opened the scoring at 2:43 on a wrist shot from the left circle that deflected off of Tim Berni's skate and when through Merzlikins' five-hole.
The Capitals almost doubled their lead at 8:34 but Merzlikins moved from left to right to make a save on Martin Fehervary from the left doorstep that led to a scramble because Merzlikins didn't know where the puck was but Washington couldn't score.
Carson Meyer nearly tied the game at 15:39 after he received a slick saucer pass from Kirill Marchenko to lead him on a breakaway but he hit the post.
Gustav Nyquist had a chance to tie the game at 17:04 on a deflection from the blue paint but it was stopped by Kuemper.
Liam Foudy had a game-tying chance of his own at 18:50 when he went on a short-handed breakaway but Kuemper was up to the task again.
Washington took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission trailing 12-8 in shots on goal.
Cole Sillinger had a great look at 11:38 from the left circle but missed wide with a wrist shot.
Alex Ovechkin had a chance to double his team's lead at 14:59 with a slap shot from the right circle but Merzlikins made the save.
Ovechkin fired a wrist shot on the power play at 19:14 from the left circle but it was denied by Merzlikins, who made a glove save.
The Capitals took a 1-0 lead into the third period trailing 25-13 in shots on goal.
Sillinger had a good chance to score on the power play at 11:21 with a shot from the left slot but Kuemper was able to corral it without surrendering a rebound.
Former Blue Jacket Sonny Milano almost gave Washington a 2-0 lead when he hit the goalpost at 13:30.
Patrik Laine had a one-timer from the left circle off a two-on-one feed from Nyquist at 16:18 but again, it was stopped by Kuemper.
The Blue Jackets pulled Merzlikins at 18:30 and had several shots on goal, including a one-timer from Laine at the left circle, but they couldn't score.
The 1-0 final pushed the Jackets to 12-25-2 on the season.
- Shots on Goal: CBJ 37-19 WSH
- Faceoff %: CBJ 37.5-62.5 WSH
- Power play: CBJ 0/2-0/2 WSH
- Takeaways: CBJ 6-7 WSH
- Giveaways: CBJ 2-8 WSH
- Blocked shots: CBJ 15-25 WSH
- Hits: CBJ 32-29 WSH
5-on-5 stats (via naturalstattrick.com):
- Expected Goals (xG): CBJ 2.28-1.20 WSH
- Chances (CF): CBJ 54-42 WSH
- Shots (SF): CBJ 26-17 WSH
- Scoring Chances (SCF): CBJ 24-13 WSH
- High-Danger Chances (HDCF): CBJ 11-6 WSH
Eric Robinson and Daniil Tarasov remain day-to-day with upper-body injuries.
The Jackets head south to take on the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Ohio and 97.1 FM The Fan.
The club returns home to take on the Hurricanes on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Ohio and 97.1 FM The Fan.