Elvis Merzlikins becomes third Latvian to record a NHL shutout

Elvis Merzlikins of Riga, Latvia became the third goaltender in National Hockey League history to record a shutout on Saturday. Merzlikins made 27 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Merzlikins follows in the footsteps of Arturs Irbe of Riga, Latvia and Peter Skudra of Riga, Latvia. Irbe had 33 shutouts with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes from 1992 to 2002. Skudra had six shutouts with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Canucks from 1998 to 2003.

In the Blue Jackets win over the Golden Knights on Saturday, Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first career shutout. The Golden Knights outshot the Blue Jackets 27-22. Merzlikins made seven saves in the first period, 11 saves in the second period and eight saves in the third period. Max Pacioretty of New Canaan, CT led the Golden Knights in shots on goal with five.

There is no doubt that the Swedes on the Blue Jackets played an integral role in the Columbus win. Offensively, the Blue Jackets beat the Golden Knights on a two assist game from center Kevin Stenlund of Huddinge, Sweden. Stenlund, who had his first two assists and first multi-point game in his NHL career on Saturday, helped set up Emil Bemstrom of Nykoping, Sweden for the game winning goal at 16:38 of the first period on the power play, and then picked up a primary assist on the 3-0 Blue Jackets goal by Alexander Wennberg of Stockholm, Sweden at 8:26 of the third period. The other Blue Jackets player who got on the scoresheet was Pierre-Luc Dubois of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec.

Merzlikins has a record of five wins, six losses and four losses in extra time. He has a goals against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .915.

The Blue Jackets currently have a record of 22 wins, 16 regulation losses and eight losses in extra time for 52 points. They are four points back of the Carolina Hurricanes for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.