Gregory Hofmann, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Zach Werenski each had a goal and an assist and Elvis Merzlikins made 31 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets recorded a 4-1 win over the visiting Dallas Stars on Monday.
Merzlikins is a perfect 4-0-0 this season, starting all four of the Blue Jackets’ victories this season. Monday’s game continues a very impressive early showing for Merzlikins, who has a 1.47 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
Alexandre Texier also scored for the Jackets, collecting an empty-net goal late in the third period.
Tyler Seguin scored for Dallas, which outshot Columbus by a 32-26 margin but delivered another inconsistent offensive performance. The Stars rank near the bottom of the NHL in scoring, with only 11 goals in six games.
Stars goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 22 of 25 shots.
Dallas ran into some bad early luck, ringing three shots off the goalpost in the opening 10 minutes. The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, scored on their first shot of the game, as Bjorkstrand converted a Jack Roslovic pass at 5:53 of the first period.
Bjorkstrand and Roslovic had a new rookie linemate, Hofmann, as the Jackets shuffled their lines pregame to provide some new looks on offense. Hofmann was the immediate beneficiary, recording his first goal and first multi-point game in the NHL.
Hofmann’s breakthrough score came at 10:39 of the second period. Deep in the Stars’ end, Bjorkstrand poked a loose puck into the slot, and Hofmann jumped on the chance for what ended up as the game-winning goal.
Bjorkstrand earned his 100th career NHL assist on Hofmann’s goal. Bjorkstrand leads the Jackets with nine points (three goals, six assists) through the team’s six games.
Werenski added to the tally with a goal at 5:14 of the third period, and he collected an assist on Texier’s empty-netter after Seguin ended Merzlikins’ shutout bid at 17:41.
Stars defenseman John Klingberg returned to the lineup after missing four games with a lower-body injury. He had a minus-2 rating in 20:39 of ice time.
–Field Level Media