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Merzlikins stops 41 shots to lead Blue Jackets in 4-2 win over Senators

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and Ottawa Senators left wing Dominik Kubalik (81) reach for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and Ottawa Senators left wing Dominik Kubalik (81) reach for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -

Elvis Merzlikins stopped 41 shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets rallied from two goals down to beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 on Friday night.

Patrik Laine, Dmitri Voronkov, Adam Fantilli and Boone Jenner scored for Columbus, which earned its second win in three games for the Metropolitan Division cellar-dwellers. Johnny Gaudreau and Zach Werenski added two assists apiece.

"Without Elvis, I'm not sure we see the same final score," Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. "He made some big saves and the bench just got elevated. A lot of times it's one player doing having a great performance and it boosts---gives some confidence."

Brady Tkachuk had a goal and an assist, and Claude Giroux scored for Ottawa, which lost its third straight to remain last in the Atlantic Division. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 19 shots for the Senators in his first game against the team where he spent the first 7 1/2 seasons of his career.

After outshooting Columbus 14-2 to start the game, the Senators got on the board at 8:43 of the first period, with Giroux sliding the puck through Merzlikins' pads in his 100th game with Ottawa.

Tkachuk made it 2-0 just over two minutes later with a power-play goal off a laser from the right circle. Tim Stutzle had the secondary assist for his 200th career point.

The power-play goal was the first given up by Columbus in 12 chances over its last six games.

The rest of the game belonged to Columbus.

"After 2-nothing we didn't give up," Merzlikins said. "We kept skating. We were all together. We were blocking the shots. We were trying hard. Obviously, this is hockey. A lot can happen, but I was hoping and I believe that we can turn around this thing, and we turn around, and it went really well."

The Blue Jackets dominated the back half of the first period, as Laine cut the lead in half with his own power-play goal with 5:07 left rushing in from the right circle.

Voronkov tied it 43 seconds later with his fifth goal of the season.

Fantilli gave Columbus the lead at 5:15 of the second, redirecting Ivan Provorov's shot from along the left boards.

Jenner made it 4-2 with a power-play goal that tipped in Werenski's shot from the blue line.

"We did enough things to win the game today," Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. "At the end of the day we don't get a couple of blocks and they get some tips, and they go into the net. We've got to find ways to score."

UP NEXT

Senators: Host Seattle on Saturday.

Blue Jackets: At Boston on Sunday.

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 AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

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