Vancouver Canucks centre Adam Gaudette (88) fails to get a shot past Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Sunday, March 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Elvis returns to lead Blue Jackets to 2-1 triumph over Canucks

Vancouver clings to final Western Conference playoff spot

VANCOUVER — Elvis Merzlikins made 26 saves in his return to action after missing four games with a concussion and the Columbus Blue Jackets held off the Vancouver Canucks for a 2-1 win on Sunday.

Emil Bemstrom and Eric Robinson scored for Columbus (33-22-15).

Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks (35-27-6) a week after failing to defend a third-period road lead against the Blue Jackets.

Columbus had just 22 shots on Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko, after recording 46 shots in their 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

The Blue Jackets were 0-for-2 on the power play and Vancovuer could not score on its three man advantages.

With the win, Columbus moves into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 81 points, two ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders.

The Canucks remain tied with the Predators and Jets at 76 points, but Vancouver holds the second wild-card spot with one more win than Nashville and a game in hand over Winnipeg.

Following a sluggish first period that saw Vancouver outshoot Columbus 6-3, the Blue Jackets opened the scoring 7:18 into the second.

Pierre-Luc Dubois outmuscled Alex Edler for a loose puck along the end boards, then fed the puck to the slot. A wide-open Bemstrom beat Demko to the stick side for his ninth goal of the season.

With five minutes left to play in the second, Tyler Toffoli got Vancouver’s best chance to that point in the game, skating into the offensive zone with plenty of open ice. Merzlikins got a piece of Toffoli’s shot before it deflected off the goal post.

Robinson extended the lead to 2-0 on the Blue Jackets’ 10th shot of the game, beating Demko with a slap shot for his seventh goal of the year with 28 seconds left in the middle period.

The Canucks finally solved Merzlikins on their 21st shot of the night, when Pettersson burst out of the penalty box after serving an elbowing minor and slid the puck five-hole for his 27th of the season at 8:19.

The loss gives Vancouver a 1-2-0 record on its current homestand, which wraps up on Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

READ MORE: MacEwen nets 2 as Canucks pick up key 6-3 win over Avalanche

NOTES: Ryan Murray returned to the Columbus lineup after missing Saturday’s game in Edmonton … Brock Boeser skated with the Canucks on Sunday morning for the first time since suffering a rib cartilage injury on Feb. 8. His return date remains unknown … The Canucks celebrated Minor Hockey Night on Sunday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanuckshockeyNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Smithers relocates downtown homeless population

Bylaw officer Matt Davey says the move was made with buy-in from the affected people

Canfor extends Houston, Plateau mill closures

COVID-19 continues to dampen lumber demand

Smithers single family home sales up in first quarter of 2020

Real Estate board predicts decline in second quarter due to COVID-19

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

UNBC opts for virtual convocation in June, commits to face-to-face after COVID-19

Interim president Geoff Payne said feedback prompted him to commit to traditional one when possible

Researchers to study whether plasma of recovered patients can treat COVID-19

Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that contains the antibodies that protect against illness

Most Read