Blue Jackets blank Blues for first shutout in 2 years

Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins posted his first shutout of the season, backstopping the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets to a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Merzlikins made 21 saves to record his 10th career shutout. Dmitri Voronkov scored for the Blue Jackets in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.

It has been more than two calendar years since the Blue Jackets last posted a shutout; Merzlikins recorded 31 saves in a 6-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 13, 2022.

Jordan Binnington stopped 21 shots for the Blues, who saw their five-game winning streak snapped.

Voronkov broke the scoreless deadlock at 4:11 of the third period. Zach Werenski took a feed at the offensive blue line before splitting the defense and sent a cross-crease pass that Voronkov converted for his 12th goal of the season and fifth goal in seven outings.

In collecting his 193rd career assist on the goal, Werenski surpassed Nick Foligno for sole possession of the third place in franchise history.

Despite the low number of saves, which included 12 in the third period, Merzlikins delivered a few key ones. He made a save on Torey Krug in the final seconds of the second period, on Jake Neighbours moments before Voronkov’s goal and against Jordan Kyrou in the final minute while the Blues had the goalie pulled for an extra attacker.

The polite term for the first two periods would be a low-event game, with few shots, fewer scoring chances and very little buzz.

Officials stopped play when they believed Columbus forward Boone Jenner had tallied late in the second period, but his rocket of a shot rang off the post and did not go in the net.

Blue Jackets forward Mathieu Olivier and Blues defenseman Tyler Tucker dropped the gloves in a spirited second-period fight.