Merzlikins makes 32 saves, Blue Jackets shut out Predators

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COLUMBUS — Elvis Merzlikins made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season, and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Nashville Predators 3-0 at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

Cam Atkinson scored for the fifth straight game for Columbus (8-6-4), which will play Nashville again here Saturday.

Juuse Saros made 19 saves for the Predators (6-10-0), who have lost five of six. 

Merzlikins made his first start since Jan. 31 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He sustained an upper-body injury on Feb. 3 during practice and was placed on injured reserve until Feb. 11.

Atkinson scored his seventh goal of the season at 19:43 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. His shot from the right circle went off the skate blade of Predators defenseman Matt Benning as he went to the ice for the block. Saros lost sight of the puck and it floated over his head.

Atkinson has nine points (five goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak.

Max Domi made it 2-0 at 4:56 of the second period with his third goal. The play was reviewed to see if Domi’s shot hit linesman Ryan Galloway, but video review confirmed it didn’t.

Eric Robinson scored into an empty net at 17:29 of third period for the 3-0 final.

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