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

Food bank doing well thanks to volunteers and donations

Chair applauds staff for stepping up in time of turmoil

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

Restaurants adjust to loosened restrictions

Gateway Grill in Clearwater is one of the establishments that’s reopened its doors to in-house guests

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read