Gregory Hofman scored the game-winning goal in the first period and Elvis Merzlikins collected his first shutout of the season to give the host Columbus Blue Jackets a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.
Zach Werenski and Andrew Peeke also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won four of five games. Merzlikins made 36 saves for his eighth career shutout.
Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves for the Jets, who have lost a season-worst four straight games.
Hofmann gave the Blue Jackets first blood with 4:51 remaining in the first period. Max Domi created a turnover inside his own zone and created a two-on-one rush. Domi threaded a cross-ice pass that Hofmann quickly converted for his first goal in 10 games and second of the season.
Werenski’s power-play goal 6:49 into the third period doubled the Blue Jackets’ lead. After he was fed a pass at the top of the right circle, Werenski stepped down to the face-off dot and wired a top-corner wrist shot that beat Connor Hellebuyck’s glove hand for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Peeke scored an empty-net goal, his first tally of the season, with 3:33 remaining to round out the scoring.
Despite its opportunities, the Jets couldn’t find a goal. A big part of the problem is Winnipeg’s struggling power play, which failed to convert its four advantages. The Jets have managed just one goal with 22 power play chances over the last nine games. The closest they came was when Yegor Chinakov rang a shot off the crossbar during the third period.
Merzlikins stood tall the rest of the way, too. Merzlikins made clutch saves on Pierre-Luc Dubois’ opportunity off the rush early in the second period, the struggling Blake Wheeler late in the middle frame and especially against Jansen Harkins late in the clash.