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

Emil Bemstrom, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg scored for Columbus.
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) blocks a shot by the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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.