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

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read