This has been quite the run for Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins of Riga. Latvia. On Friday, Merzlikins recorded his fifth shutout of the season to take over the NHL shutout lead all by himself as the Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH.
Merzlikins made 16 saves for the shutout. He had five saves in the first period, four saves in the second period and seven saves in the third period.
In a remarkable string of goaltending, Merzlikins now has a record of 12 wins and three losses since being the number one goaltender in Columbus. Merzlikins took over the starting role when Joonas Korpisalo suffered an injury.
It was a dominant performance by the Blue Jackets as well. They outshot the Red Wings 44-16. The Columbus goal scorers were Zach Werenski of Grosse Pointe, MI, who had the game winning goal at 4:57 of the second period. Boone Jenner of Dorchester, Ontario scored an empty net insurance marker with one minute and 25 seconds left in the contest.
On the season, Merzlikins now has a record of 12 wins, seven regulation losses and four losses in extra time. He has five shutouts, a goals against average of 2.19 and save percentage of .930. Merzlikins’s save percentage also leads the NHL.
Merzlikins leads the NHL in shutouts by one over Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck of Commerce, MI. Hellebuyck is second with four shutouts. Merzlikins’s .930 save percentage is actually currently tied for the NHL lead with Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask of Savonlinna, Finland.
On Saturday, Merzlikins was back in between the pipes. However on this night, Columbus lost 2-1 to the Colorado Avalanche.
Columbus has been excellent in their last 11 games however. During this stretch they have a record of 9-1-1. They are currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 30 wins, 17 regulation losses and nine losses in extra time for 69 points.