Vancouver Canucks centre Adam Gaudette (88) fails to get a shot past Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Sunday, March 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Elvis returns to lead Blue Jackets to 2-1 triumph over Canucks

Vancouver clings to final Western Conference playoff spot

VANCOUVER — Elvis Merzlikins made 26 saves in his return to action after missing four games with a concussion and the Columbus Blue Jackets held off the Vancouver Canucks for a 2-1 win on Sunday.

Emil Bemstrom and Eric Robinson scored for Columbus (33-22-15).

Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks (35-27-6) a week after failing to defend a third-period road lead against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus had just 22 shots on Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko, after recording 46 shots in their 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

The Blue Jackets were 0-for-2 on the power play and Vancovuer could not score on its three man advantages.

With the win, Columbus moves into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 81 points, two ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders.

The Canucks remain tied with the Predators and Jets at 76 points, but Vancouver holds the second wild-card spot with one more win than Nashville and a game in hand over Winnipeg.

Following a sluggish first period that saw Vancouver outshoot Columbus 6-3, the Blue Jackets opened the scoring 7:18 into the second.

Pierre-Luc Dubois outmuscled Alex Edler for a loose puck along the end boards, then fed the puck to the slot. A wide-open Bemstrom beat Demko to the stick side for his ninth goal of the season.

With five minutes left to play in the second, Tyler Toffoli got Vancouver’s best chance to that point in the game, skating into the offensive zone with plenty of open ice. Merzlikins got a piece of Toffoli’s shot before it deflected off the goal post.

Robinson extended the lead to 2-0 on the Blue Jackets’ 10th shot of the game, beating Demko with a slap shot for his seventh goal of the year with 28 seconds left in the middle period.

The Canucks finally solved Merzlikins on their 21st shot of the night, when Pettersson burst out of the penalty box after serving an elbowing minor and slid the puck five-hole for his 27th of the season at 8:19.

The loss gives Vancouver a 1-2-0 record on its current homestand, which wraps up on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

READ MORE: MacEwen nets 2 as Canucks pick up key 6-3 win over Avalanche

NOTES: Ryan Murray returned to the Columbus lineup after missing Saturday’s game in Edmonton … Brock Boeser skated with the Canucks on Sunday morning for the first time since suffering a rib cartilage injury on Feb. 8. His return date remains unknown … The Canucks celebrated Minor Hockey Night on Sunday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Schools get creative to provide food to students

Initiatives underway include providing gift cards

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Most Read