Winnipeg Jets drop 4th straight as Merzlikins backstops Blue Jackets to shutout win

Elvis Merzlikins made 36 saves for his seventh career shutout and the Columbus Blue Jackets blanked Winnipeg 3-0 on Wednesday night to hand the Jets their fourth consecutive defeat.

Gregory Hofmann, Zach Werenski and Andrew Peeke scored for Columbus, which won for the fourth time in five games.

Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots in his first loss in five starts against the Blue Jackets.

“The last two games I didn’t play that well,” Merzlikins said. “Last day off I was just thinking more about how to come back to the performance at the start of the season. I tried to be dialed in from the first minute and focus on the game.”

Hofmann put Columbus on the board at 15:09 of the first period, taking a left-side pass from Max Domi on the rush and slipping it past Hellebuyck for his second goal of the season.

Domi has four points in his last three games since returning from COVID-19 protocol.

WATCH | Merzlikins helps Blue Jackets blank Jets:

Jets fall to Blue Jackets for 4th consecutive loss

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Columbus blanks Winnipeg 3-0, Elvis Merzlikins makes 36 saves. 0:57

Werenski made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 6:49 of the second on a shot from the right circle. It was his third goal with the man advantage and fifth of the season, extending his point streak to six games.

“That goal was huge,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “It gave us a little breathing room. To get a two-goal lead is much different than one shot and they are tied. They came through huge at the right time.”

Jakub Voracek’s primary assist was his 13th this season, most in the NHL. He has 15 assists overall, and he extended his home point streak to five games.

Peeke added an empty-netter at 16:27, assisted by Vladislav Gavrikov and Alexandre Texier, who also extended his home point streak to five games.

Winnipeg is winless in three games against Eastern Conference foes this season.

“I wasn’t overly concerned about our offensive game, believe it or not,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “But we’re going to have to find different ways to get pucks to the net.”

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