Chinakhov and Merzlikins lead Blue Jackets against Hurricanes 6-0
RALEIGH, NC (AP) Yegor Chinakhov scored twice and Elvis Merzlikins recorded a 31-save shutout as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-0 Thursday night.
Emil Bemstrom, Patrik Laine, Cole Sillinger and Jack Roslovic also scored for the Blue Jackets, who squandered a 4-0 lead against Carolina earlier this month. Former Hurricane Jake Bean and Eric Robinson each had two assists.
It was Merzlikins’ first outing since allowing four goals on 15 shots in the previous game against Carolina.
“It was really important to come back and play with a free spirit,” Merzlikins said. ”I’m not really worried (about the loss to the Hurricanes). We had to learn and that’s what we are doing.
The Hurricanes were shut out for the first time this season.
”It started from the first shift. We had a high level of competition,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “We did a lot of good things to ward off the danger.”
Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen allowed four goals on 32 shots before being retired after Laine and Chinakhov scored 32 seconds apart early in the third period.
The Hurricanes were playing just their fifth game since Dec. 18. They had a game scheduled for Tuesday night in Philadelphia postponed after traveling there a day early.
“We weren’t sharp or we weren’t going to die out, but it wasn’t good,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s not a good effort from almost anyone.”
For the second time in less than two weeks, the Blue Jackets held a four-goal lead over Carolina. This time they built on it – unlike Jan. 1 when the Hurricanes rallied to win 7-4 at Columbus.
“We wanted to make sure we had a chance to redeem ourselves,” Sillinger said. ”They came back with a 4-0 lead and stole one from our own building. We wanted to make sure we got one back.
Twelve players ended up on the match sheet.
“For our team to come back and play winning hockey, we’re going to need everyone,” Larsen said.
Bemstrom scored his first goal of the season for the lone scorer in the first period. Chinakhov’s breakaway resulted in the lone score in the second period as the Blue Jackets were en route to their second victory in their last six games.
The Hurricanes, who ended a six-game point streak, played for the first time this season without defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol this week. Columbus winger Jakub Voracek also missed a game for the first time, being on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Chinakhov, a 2020 Columbus first-round pick, has scored two goals in 25 career games. He therefore doubled his total in just over 13 minutes of playing time.
“Of course it gives me more confidence,” Chinakhov said. ”But I just try to play well. . It’s certainly a great feeling to score goals.
He now has three goals in the last three games.
“I think (Chinakhov) plays his best when he’s calm with the puck,” Sillinger said.
Jack LaFontaine was Carolina’s backup goaltender, his first game as a professional. LaFontaine left the University of Minnesota when he signed an entry-level contract on Sunday.
LaFontaine entered the game with 14:57 remaining. He gave up Sillinger’s breakaway goal on the first shot he faced.
“I hate that we threw him out for that, but he got his feet a little wet,” Brind’Amour said.
Antti Raanta served as the Hurricanes’ second goaltender for most of the season, despite being injured. The team assigned goaltender Alex Lyon to the American Hockey League ahead of Thursday’s game.
Andersen joined teammate Sebastian Aho as selections to represent the Metropolitan Division at NHL All-Star Weekend Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas. This will be the second All-Star appearance for each of them.
Brind’Amour had previously been named coach for All-Star Weekend.
Defenseman Zach Werenski was chosen from the Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Hurricanes: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon.
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