McElhinney made 20 saves for his first shutout in nearly three
years, leading the Jackets to a 4-0 rout of the Minnesota Wild
before 11,319 at Nationwide Arena.
Right winger Cam Atkinson, left winger Nick Foligno, center Boone
Jenner and left winger R.J. Umberger each scored goals, while center
Ryan Johansen had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have won
back-to-back games — by shutouts, no less — for the first time
since Oct. 25.
"It's one of our most complete wins of the season, sure," Foligno
said. "We have complete faith and trust in McElhinney. He's worked
so hard, and he's played so well for us that we're really excited
he's getting this chance.
"But we wanted to play well in front of him, too, let him get
comfortable. And I thought we did that. We didn't give them much."
McElhinney made only his fifth start of the season, but he's going
to be busy for the next month or so after Bobrovsky suffered a
strained left groin in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Tampa Bay.
The Blue Jackets announced Wednesday that Bobrovsky, who won the
Vezina Trophy last season as the NHL's top goaltender, will likely
miss about a month.
McElhinney was up to the task in his first test, and the Blue
Jackets played very well in front of him, blocking shots and quickly
clearing the puck out of their own end, while establishing a fast
and fierce forecheck in the Wild zone.
It was his first shutout since Feb. 5, 2011, when he played for
Anaheim vs. Colorado.
"The guys were great in front of me," McElhinney said. "I saw just
about every puck, and the ones I didn't see they blocked.
"I thought we were a dangerous club with the puck, and we were
really smart without it, too."
The Blue Jackets outshot the Wild 41-20, including 32-13 in the
final two periods.
"We were on our heels," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Slow reacting,
slow getting to spots. Not pressuring. The amount of battles we lost
tonight was just ...
[to top of second column]
"It's how we were prepared, or our lack of preparation, I
should say. If you don't win one-on-one battles and allow them
to play in your zone, you're going to keep getting hit, and it's
going to keep getting harder."
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 37 saves for the Wild, who were
shutout for only the second time this season.
Atkinson put the Jackets up 1-0 only 1:17 into the first period
when he took a feed from center Brandon Dubinsky and scored on a
high wrist shot from just inside the top of the right circle.
The lead grew to 2-0 at 5:54 of the second when Foligno scored a
power-play goal off a rebound in front of Backstrom.
The Blue Jackets, who are 35-0 under coach Todd Richards when
leading after two periods, put an exclamation point on it in the
At 4:38 of the third, Jenner ended a tic-tac-toe rush with a
high wrister from just inside the left faceoff circle to make it
It was 4-0 at 9:05 of the third when Foligno set up Umberger
with a behind-the-back pass that he turned into an easy goal
NOTES: Blue Jackets C Derek MacKenzie returned to the lineup
after missing five games with back spasms. ... The Wild won 4-3
on Thursday night in Chicago before flying to Columbus. The Blue
Jackets hadn't played since Tuesday. ... Blue Jackets G Curtis
McElhinney never made more than six consecutive starts for an
NHL team. He took over in net for Anaheim late in the 2010-11
season when G Jonas Hiller was idled by back spasms. The
journeyman played 78 NHL games for five clubs since 2006-07. ...
A storm began dumping snow on central Ohio around 2 p.m. ET and
snarled traffic around the city, keeping many from the rink.
Despite the announced attendance, Nationwide was about one-third
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