Merzlikins gets first shutout, Blue Jackets beat Vegas 3-0

LAS VEGAS (AP)Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first career shutout and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 Saturday night.

Merzlikins is a 25-year-old rookie filling in for injured starter Joonas Korpisalo. He improved to 5-6-4 in 17 games.

Emil Bemstrom, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg scored for Columbus. The Blue Jackets are 11-2-4 since Dec. 9, one point behind Tampa Bay for most in the NHL during that span.

Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves.

First period woes continued for the Golden Knights, who allowed the first goal for the sixth straight game. Bemstron scored on a power-play one-timer to make it 1-0 late in the first.

The Golden Knights have been outscored 10-0 in the first period over their last four games.

Vegas fell behind 2-0 for the fourth straight game when Scott Harrington‘s rip from the point was deflected by Dubois 2:06 into the second period.

The Golden Knights continued to struggle on their power play, going 0 for 3. Since Dec. 5, Vegas has converted on 18.4% of its power plays (7 of 38).

NOTES: Vegas’ Gerard Gallant coached his 540th game and is six shy of tying Hap Day for 61st on the career list. … Keegan Kolesar, who was drafted by Columbus in the third round of the 2015 draft, made his NHL debut for the Golden Knights.

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Blue Jackets: Host Boston on Tuesday night.

Golden Knights: Visit Buffalo on Tuesday night.