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COLUMBUS — Elvis Merzlikins made 34 saves in his second straight shutout for the Columbus Blue Jackets, a 3-0 win against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.
Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout Saturday, a 3-0 win at the Vegas Golden Knights. He is 6-2-0 in his past eight starts, with a 1.64 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and a shutout streak of 137:51.
“Tonight the team worked really hard,” Merzlikins said. “They really skated. They tried to cut the chances of Boston. The team did a bigger part than me tonight. It’s a team shutout.”
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask left the game with an upper-body injury at 1:12 of the first period when he was elbowed in the head by Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom, who was skating through the crease and was cross-checked by Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo into Rask.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Rask would be reevaluated Wednesday in Boston. There was no penalty called on the play.
“It’s an elbow to the head. That’s what it is,” Cassidy said. “They missed it, so you move on. It’s just unfortunate it happened to your No. 1. It’s pretty clear.”
Cassidy did not say Bemstrom did it intentionally, noting the rookie forward has two penalty minutes in 33 NHL games.
“Listen, he’ll tell you he didn’t do it on purpose, I don’t know,” Cassidy said. “I know our goalie got elbowed to the head. He’s not feeling well.”
Bemstrom said the nudge by Carlo put him off balance.
“It’s not my purpose for that at all,” Bemstrom said of the elbow. “I tried to come back and backcheck. I got a little cross-check in my side and that probably turned my skate a little bit. It wasn’t on purpose, of course.”
Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said they saw a replay after the first period and several players made their feelings known to Bemstrom the rest of the game.
“That’s when guys started speaking up.” Coyle said.
Rask was replaced by Jaroslav Halak, who made 24 saves. Halak made 34 saves in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. The Bruins (27-9-12) have lost two straight (0-1-1).
Alexander Wennberg, Kevin Stenlund and Riley Nash scored for the Blue Jackets (23-16-8), who have won four of five, and are 12-2-4 in the past 18 games.
Rask on Monday withdrew from the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game. He had been named to the Atlantic Division team.
Wennberg put Columbus up 1-0 at 13:27 of the first period with his fourth goal. He took a return pass from Vladislav Gavrikov in the high slot and shot between Halak’s pads Wennberg has scored in two straight games after going 35 games without a goal.
“Right now I’ve got a little bit of bounce, a little bit of luck,” Wennberg said.
Stenlund made it 2-0 at 5:46 of the third period on a power play, taking a pass from below the goal line by Nick Foligno and scoring on a one-timer from the right dot. Three of Stenlund’s four goals have been with the man-advantage.
Nash extended the lead to 3-0 at 13:05 off the rush down the left side for his fourth goal.
The Bruins went 0-for-4 on the power play, ending their record of scoring with the man-advantage in 14 straight games.
“We couldn’t execute on the power play, something we usually do very well,” Cassidy said. “We needed it tonight because 5-on-5 we couldn’t get anything past them.
“We had some good looks in the second. At the end of the day, [Halak] did his job. We just couldn’t get any offense.”
They said it
“To come in like that is a tough thing. He kept us in it.” — Bruins forward Charlie Coyle on backup goalie Jaroslav Halak
“I liked the way we handled the ice through all three zones. Boston played a lot around our net when they were in the offensive zone. We didn’t give them a lot in the slot area. We had a lot of energy. We advanced the puck. It was one of our better games as we go through here.” — Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
Need to know
Bailey Seagraves, from the Columbus suburb of Hilliard, Ohio, dressed as the emergency backup goalie. The 22-year-old played competitively for Kenai River of the North American Hockey League in 2016-17. … The last time the Blue Jackets had two straight shutouts was March 24-26, 2019 (Vancouver Canucks, 5-0 and New York Islanders, 4-0). Sergei Bobrovsky had both.
Bruins: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NESN, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)
Blue Jackets: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-CR, NHL.TV)