After ending skid, Blue Jackets look to tame Wild

NHL Hockey
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The Columbus Blue Jackets finally ended their eight-game losing streak on Monday.

Now they will try to put together a winning streak when they play the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

The Blue Jackets snapped their 0-3-5 skid with a 4-3 victory against visiting the Ottawa Senators, winning on Emil Bemstrom’s goal 4:35 into overtime.

“I’ve been waiting for that all season,” Bemstrom said. “That’s the first time I’ve scored (in overtime), so I guess I’m happy. I want to play well. I have to do that to keep my confidence.”

Nick Foligno scored twice for Columbus, and Stefan Matteau netted the tying goal at 9:45 of the third period.

“We just hung with it. I’m really proud of the guys for that,” said Foligno, the team’s captain who was sporting two black eyes after taking a puck in the face Thursday. “We found a way to gut it out, but we have to be better than that.”

While the Blue Jackets are tied with the New York Islanders for the top wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the victory might have been a costly one.

Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, the NHL leader with five shutouts, allowed two goals on 18 shots before sustaining an undisclosed injury in a collision with Senators forward Anthony Duclair midway through the second period. That came minutes after Columbus forward Riley Nash left with an injury. There was no word on the status of either player after the game.

Goalie Joonas Korpisalo, in his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury Dec. 29, made 14 saves in relief.

“I didn’t plan on that,” Korpisalo said. “It’s sad to see something like that kind of stuff happen to Elvis. I didn’t see what really happened, but it’s not fun.”

The Wild sustained a 4-1 loss Sunday at home to the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, snapping a two-game winning streak.

Marcus Foligno scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 22 shots for Minnesota, which is fifth in the Western Conference wild-card race.

“We are still in it,” Foligno said. “We still have 20-something games left. … Just because of the trade deadline (Monday), there’s still the common goal of making the playoffs.”

The Wild, who recently traded winger Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins, stayed quiet at the trade deadline despite reports that left winger Zach Parise would be on the move.

“It’s never an easy time of the year, to be completely honest. There’s a lot of emotions involved, and there’s a lot of different things that go along with it that are out of your control,” Wild forward Eric Staal said. “We’ll come to work … and do our best to learn from (the St. Louis) game and get better, and then whatever happens, we’ll deal with it from there.”

Gerry Mayhew, who led the American Hockey League with 39 goals in 48 games, was recalled by the Wild and practiced on the first line Monday with Staal and Kevin Fiala.

“It felt good (to be out there with them),” Mayhew told “Two skilled guys who have played in the NHL for a while. I’m just trying to keep up.”

The Blue Jackets made two trades Monday at the deadline, acquiring center Devin Shore from the Anaheim Ducks for winger Sonny Milano, and sending forward Markus Hannikainen to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional 2020 seventh-round draft pick.

Shore is expected to join the team Tuesday in Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

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