February 9, 2020 / 2:58 AM / 18 days ago

Avs solve Merlikins for comeback victory over Jackets

EditorsNote: tweaked 2nd graf, fixed spelling of Burakovsky in final graf

Feb 8, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (left) reacts to fans during warmups prior to the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon scored third-period goals, Philipp Grubauer had 31 saves, and the visiting Colorado Avalanche rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Saturday night.

Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar had an assist each to help the Avalanche improve to 3-1 on their five-game road trip. Colorado has won six of its last seven.

Seth Jones had a goal, and Elvis Merzlikins stopped 20 shots but fell short of his third straight shutout for Columbus. The Blue Jackets had won three straight and nine of 10.

Colorado trailed 1-0 but tied it in the third when defenseman Nikita Zadorov created a turnover with a big hit. Kadri picked up the puck, skated to the left circle and beat Merzlikins in the far side at 11:45 for his 19th of the season.

The goal was the first Merzlikins allowed at home in more than 196 minutes and his first goal allowed overall in 174:40.

Just over three minutes later, MacKinnon got a pass from Landeskog and beat Merzlikins with a one-time slapshot at 15:26. It was his 31st of the season.

Merzlikins came off for an extra skater with 1:48 left, but Columbus couldn’t get the equalizer.

The Blue Jackets broke through in the scoreless game midway through the second period. With the Avalanche on the penalty kill because of a too-many-men call, Boone Jenner won a faceoff back to Jones, who glided toward the middle of the zone and beat Grubauer with a blast at 9:30. It was his sixth of the season.

Colorado nearly tied it twice, but Merzlikins made a couple of big saves, and Makar hit the post twice. His second one, with the Avalanche on the power play in the final minute of the second, went off the crossbar and into the stands.

Both teams had great opportunities in the first period. Columbus nearly got on the board when a puck was loose in front of an empty net, but Matt Nieto cleared it away before a Blue Jackets player could knock it in.

Later in the period, Andre Burakovsky’s blast from near the top of the zone hit the crossbar and a post before bouncing parallel to the goal line behind Merzlikins and out of the crease.

—Field Level Media

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