Blue Jackets’ Elvis Merzlikins Says Stars Fan Taunted Him Over Kivlenieks’ Death

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins said a Dallas Stars fan taunted him about the death of Matiss Kivlenieks prior to Columbus’ 4-1 victory.

“I was expecting a shutout, because I believe in karma,” Merzlikins told reporters. “There are some stupid people in this world. It was really bad what happened in the tunnel when I was walking out. There was a fan from Dallas who (provoked) me about Matiss.”

Kivlenieks died in July following a fireworks accident in Michigan.

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan wrote about the friendship between Merzlikins and Kivlenieks. Merzlikins and his wife, Aleksandra, welcomed Kivlenieks into their home when he was getting accustomed to life in the NHL.

“We didn’t just become best friends,” Merzlikins said to Kaplan. “He was really my little brother.”

Elvis and Aleksandra named their first child Knox Matiss in honor of Kivlenieks, and they had hoped he would be the child’s godfather.

The Blue Jackets honored Kivlenieks ahead of their opener, an 8-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

On Monday, Merzlikins stopped 31 of the Stars’ 32 shots. Dallas had three shots hit off the post in the first period, which the netminder chalked up to “karma.”

“I saw that (Matiss) was really there,” he said.

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