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Alexandre Texier scores in opening minute as Blue Jackets beat Blackhawks 5-2

CHICAGO (AP) — Alexandre Texier opened the scoring in the first minute, Zach Werenski added a pair of assists, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Saturday night.

The victory by the Eastern Conference’s worst team over the Western Conference’s worst team halted the Blue Jackets’ two-game losing streak, and dropped Chicago to 0-4-2 in its last six games.

Boone Jenner, Mathieu Olivier and Cole Sillinger scored and Johnny Gaudreau added an empty-netter for Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 26 shots and picked up his 12th win of the season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on us now,” Merzlikins said. “The last few games we’re playing against teams and not even looking at where they’re at in the standings, top or in the bottom.”

Philipp Kurashev and Ryan Donato scored for the Blackhawks as goaltender Arvid Soderblom made 26 saves.

Texier took advantage of Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones’ giveaway in the Chicago zone to score 33 seconds into the game. Texier picked up the loose puck Jones left in the slot and whistled it past Soderblom within a stride of collecting it.

“I thought we were in control most of the night,” Sillinger said. “When you get a start like we did, I thought we kept building on it.”

The Blue Jackets made it 2-0 on Jenner’s waist-high deflection of Werenski’s shot at 14:05 of the first.

“It was a really sloppy game right from the start,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. “We played really slow. They kept coming at us. It’s a bad combination.

“We went down the wrong path.”

The Blackhawks scored with 2:28 left in the first on Kurashev’s 10th goal of the season. He beat Merzlikins from six feet on rookie of the year candidate Connor Bedard’s setup. It was the first goal for the Blackhawks in almost 100 minutes, going back to the second period of last Sunday’s loss to Detroit. Opposing teams scored nine times between Nick Foligno’s goal against the Red Wings and Kurashev’s tally.

“It’s really frustrating,” Kurashev said of the series of losses. “We weren’t executing today.”

Werenski set up Olivier at 3:09 of the second to make it 3-1. Sillinger made it 4-1 midway through the second period.

“It’s a good win for us, a good start,” Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent said. “I thought we got better in the second period.”

Soderblom lost his 14th straight game.

Chicago is 1-6-3 in its last 10 home games. The Blackhawks’ last road win was in Tampa on Nov. 9, and they start a three-game road trip on Monday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: Host Vegas on Monday.

Blackhawks: At Colorado on Monday.

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

Tim Cronin, The Associated Press