COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 shots for his 73rd career shutout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 on Thursday night for their fourth straight win.
Fleury is 12th on the NHL’s career shutouts list, three behind Ed Belfour and Tony Esposito, who are tied for 10th. Brandon Duhaime and Kirill Kaprizov scored for Minnesota, which passed Colorado for third place in the Central Division.
“It was a great team effort,” Fleury said. “The guys blocked a lot of shots and let me see the puck.”
Joonas Korpisalo stopped 23 shots for Columbus, which was shut out for the sixth time this season and third at home. The Blue Jackets have lost four of their last five home games and remain in the NHL basement.
“They don’t give up much,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “They are a big body team. They’re well coached, they’re big on the wings. They’ve got solid D. They’re goaltender’s good. They defend. They are a hard man-on-man (team), too, so if you’re not getting inside and you’re not beating your guys, it’s going to be a long night.”
Despite being outshot 13-8, the first period was all Minnesota with goals from Duhaime at 3:01 and Kaprizov at 8:48 for the only scores of the game.
“Any time you can get a lead, it really solidifies what you are doing,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “Then we can really bear down and wait for our opportunities, as opposed to trying to push.”
With his shutout, Fleury secured his first career shutout against Columbus. He has now blanked 29 of 32 NHL teams, with the exceptions being only St. Louis, Vegas and Minnesota.
HELLO AND GOODBYE
Johnny Gaudreau, who missed the two previous Blue Jackets games with a lower-body injury, returned to the lineup, but Cole Sillinger was scratched sick. Minnesota recalled defenseman Dakota Mermis from AHL Iowa.
KIRILL THE THRILL
Kirill Kaprizov, who leads the Wild in goals (34) and points (68), has scored five goals in his last six games and registered points in 13 of his last 15 games. He is tied for eighth in the NHL for goals this season.
Wild: Visit Toronto on Friday night.
Blue Jackets: Host Edmonton on Saturday.