Merzlikins makes 21 saves as Blue Jackets blank Blues 1-0
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dmitri Voronkov’s third period goal broke a scoreless tie, and the Columbus Blue Jackets snapped the St. Louis Blues’ season-high five-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday night.
Voronkov buried a one-timer off a Zach Werenski feed on an odd-man rush at 4:11 of the third. Voronkov has three points in two career games against St. Louis.
The assist moved Werenski past Nick Foligno for third most in franchise history with 193.
“I just kind of twisted and saw him there so I fired one over and he makes a good play,” Werenski said of the goal. “But I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. It kind of worked out, I guess.”
Elvis Merzlikins made 21 saves to record his 10th career shutout and first since blanking Carolina on Jan. 13, 2022, ending a 94-game span between shutouts. His toughest save came early in the third period when he robbed Jake Neighbours with a sprawling pad save.
Columbus played its fifth game in eight days and capped a five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 mark.
“It was amazing,” Merzlikins said. “I’m really happy and this is perfect way how to end this for before this break. … Not gonna lie, we are all really tired. Even this morning at breakfast when I walked down, it was silent. We are done. We want to go home now. And it’s really nice.”
It was Columbus’ first shutout of the season and first since Merzlikins blanked Carolina in 2022.
“I’m trying to explain the best I can that this team is all in,” Columbus coach Pascal Vincent said. “They’re all in. And they want to do things right and it’s like we’re growing as a team. The team chemistry is getting better and better. And they had to dig in. They had to really dig deep in order to compete today and do it the proper way. And that’s what they did. And most importantly I feel they do it for each other.”
Jordan Binnington made 21 saves for the Blues, who lost both games against Columbus this season. It was the second time the Blue Jackets swept a season series from St. Louis and the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
“The first period, we weren’t skating, we weren’t engaged at all,” Blues interim coach Drew Bannister said. “The second period I thought we started to skate a little bit more, but we were playing cute hockey and cute hockey doesn’t win at this level.”
Neither team found the back of the net in a first period that featured just 11 combined shots on goal.
The second period played out much like the first, scoreless with just 10 shots.
“Elvis played great tonight,” Werenski said. “He’s been playing good for a while now, so it’s good to see him get a shutout and then obviously Vrony there scoring a big goal for us, but I thought everyone contributed tonight. Everyone played well, everyone worked hard and it was a really solid hockey game from our group.”
Columbus was without one of its top forwards in Adam Fantilli (12 goals, 15 assists), who left Sunday’s game in Seattle after getting his leg cut by a skate.
Blue Jackets: Host Tampa Bay in their first game after the All-Star break on Feb. 10.
Blues: Visit Buffalo on Feb. 10.
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