Oliver Bjorkstrand scored the deciding shootout goal and Elvis Merzlikins made 41 saves for the shutout as the Columbus Blue Jackets earned a 1-0 win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
The victory ends the Jackets’ nine-game (0-7-2) winless drought. Another loss would have given the Blue Jackets (16-25-10, 42 points) the longest single-season losing streak in franchise history.
It was a classic goaltender’s duel between Merzlikins and Detroit’s Thomas Greiss, who made 33 saves. Both goalies were awarded shutouts for not allowing any scores in 65 minutes of regulation and overtime hockey.
Merzlikins recorded his second shutout of the season, and the 41 saves matches a career best for the Blue Jackets netminder.
Greiss recorded his first regular-season shutout since the 2018-19 season. Then a member of the New York Islanders, Greiss also shut out the Blue Jackets on March 11, 2019.
Bjorkstrand seemingly opened the scoring just 1:34 into the game, though the would-be goal was overruled after a video review due to an offsides call. This came moments after a Vladislav Namestnikov near-miss at the other end of the ice, as another review was required to confirm that the puck didn’t cross the goal line.
That play was one of multiple close calls for Namestnikov, who had five shots on goal. The forward hit a crossbar near the end of the first period, and had an open-net chance early in the second period that was blocked by the stick of Columbus forward Alexandre Texier in a nice defensive play.
Jakub Vrana also had five shots for the Wings (17-25-9, 43 points), including two breakaway chances. Merzlikins stopped Vrana early in the second period, and then again on a game-saving stop in overtime.
It was a strong effort for Merzlikins in his first game as the Blue Jackets’ top goaltender. Joonas Korpisalo will miss the rest of the regular season due to a lower-body injury.
The Wings are 2-9 this season in games decided in overtime/shootouts. It was Detroit’s second consecutive loss beyond regulation time, after a 2-1 OT loss to the Dallas Stars on April 24.
Columbus is 3-2-1 against Detroit this season.
–Field Level Media