Elvis Merzlikins recorded his fifth shutout in eight games, Zach Werenski scored in the second period and the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets silenced the visiting Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Friday.
Merzlikins became the first rookie goaltender to record five shutouts in an eight-game span since Frank Brimsek in 1938. He needed to make only 16 stops against the Wings.
The Blue Jackets are 9-0-1 over the last 10 games and have recorded at least one point in 18 consecutive games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Werenski’s 17 goals are an NHL high for a defenseman this season. He also scored the only goal in Columbus’ last game, a 1-0 overtime win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
Boone Jenner scored the other goal for the Blue Jackets into a vacated net. The Blue Jackets’ previous five games were decided by a single goal.
The Red Wings were coming off a 4-3 shootout victory at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, which snapped a nine-game winless streak. Jimmy Howard was the hard-luck loser Thursday, stopping 42 shots.
Columbus outshot Detroit 31-9 during the first two periods but it was a one-goal game heading to the third.
Werenski broke the scoreless drought at 4:57 of the second period as Columbus maintained possession for more than 1 1/2 minutes during a delayed penalty call. Nick Foligno skated into the slot and threaded a pass to Werenski, who fired a one-timer from the right circle. Sonny Milano picked up the second assist.
The Wings had a pair of extra men on the ice penalties but killed both off. They didn’t get a power play until Seth Jones was whistled for slashing Givani Smith at 5:55 of the third period. Detroit didn’t have a quality scoring chance during those two minutes.
Columbus also held firm after Pierre-Luc Dubois was sent to the penalty box for hooking Robby Fabbri.
Jenner scored an empty-netter with 1:25 remaining after Detroit turned the puck over in the Blue Jackets’ zone. Jenner’s ninth goal was assisted by ex-Wings center Gustav Nyquist.
—Field Level Media