Merzlikins Dominates with 37 Saves as Blue Jackets Triumph over Devils

Scoring a wrist shot from the right face-off circle after Ondrej Palat stole the puck from Jake Bean in the offensive zone, Holtz made it 1-1 at 13:15.

“I didn’t like our start and we didn’t get to second opportunities,” commented New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff.

Robinson scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway after taking a lead pass from Justin Danforth with Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton out of position for a 2-1 lead with 37 seconds left in the first.

“I knew he [Danforth] had some time there and we talked about it; if you have time, there’s no reason to come over, so I stayed wide,” said Robinson, who was born in Bellmawr, New Jersey. “I knew he was going to get his head up and make that play.

“I had [six family members] here so for them to be here and see that, it’s pretty special.”

Making 20 saves in the third period, Merzlikins had a strong display, including seven when the Blue Jackets were whistled for too many men on the ice at 3:26.

“I was thinking, keep shooting, baby, I’m warm,” Merzlikins said. “I was reading the game well. My defensemen were cleaning the vision for me so that was perfect and the two or three times that they didn’t because they were scrambling, it hit the post, so obviously it’s hard when the shots are coming in.”

“At the same time, I love it. I love when they shoot 38 times on me. I hate when they don’t shoot, that’s the worst part.”

Devils center Jack Hughes had eight shots on goal, and another two that hit the post in the third period.

“That was just a tough result,” Hughes said. “We didn’t generate anything. We didn’t score. We didn’t execute. We’re talking too much … we have to go out and play better.”

NOTES: Five players in Blue Jackets history have had a longer goal streak than Jenner at age 30 or older: Geoff Sanderson (seven games, 2002-03), Cam Atkinson (five, 2020-21), Scott Hartnell (four, 2014-15), David Vyborny (four, 2005-06) and Ray Whitney (four, 2002-03). … Devils forward Curtis Lazar sustained an undisclosed injury early in the first period after 4:14 of ice time. Ruff said Lazar is questionable for Saturday. … The Devils hadn’t plated a home game on Black Friday since a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Nov. 23, 2018.


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