Blue Jackets snap losing streak with 6-1 win over Devils
By MITCH STACY, AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets outshot opponents in the last four games but just couldn’t get the puck to bounce their way as the losses piled up.
Things finally started going the Blue Jackets’ way again on Saturday night as they beat Metropolitan Division-rival New Jersey 6-1 to snap a season-high five-game losing streak.
The onslaught was a relief for Columbus, which badly needed a win after dropping both ends of a home-and-home series this week to Washington and falling farther behind the Capitals in the tightly bunched division. It was the Blue Jackets’ first win in regulation in the last 14 games.
“We knew we had it in us,” said forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, who scored the first goal for Columbus . “Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you aren’t. A game like that helps your confidence.”
Keith Kinkaid, playing in place of an injured Cory Schneider, stopped 44 shots for the Devils, who have lost three straight and seven of their last 10.
“We started off pretty well, and it just unraveled from there,” Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. “We have to be a lot stronger mentally. Stuff is going to happen, there are going to mistakes. We have to make sure we fight hard and continue to battle.”
Artemi Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand each had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 35 shots for Columbus. Josh Anderson, Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert also scored.
“We’ve been doing a lot of good things in recent games, and to get rewarded a little bit on the offensive side is big,” said Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner, who had two assists. “We had a big number of shots again, a lot of breaks for us there.”
Dubois scored his 12th goal of the season late in the first period when he skated into the slot and snapped in a perfect feed from Panarin.
Columbus scored the next three goals in a space of 3:09 in the second period.
“They just kept coming,” Kinkaid said. “They were relentless in the their battles.”
Panarin got his 15th of the season at 11:49 as Cam Atkinson missed with a wraparound try, and Panarin was in the perfect spot to backhand it past Kinkaid.
Anderson got his team-leading 17th and made it 3-0 just 80 seconds later on a breakaway, in which Bobrovsky was awarded a secondary assist. Bjorkstrand finished the flurry with a top-shelf tally, his ninth of the season.
Foligno, playing in his 400th game with the Blue Jackets, put back a rebound in the third period for his 11th goal, and Matt Calvert made it 6-0 with a rocket from the slot on a power play at 9:45, his seventh of the season.
Kyle Palmieri was credited with a goal with 3 1/2 minutes left in the game to spoil Bobrovsky’s shutout bid, although the video replay showed it was tipped in by Jenner as he fell in the crease.
“The better team won,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said. “The harder team, the more competitive team, the more prepared team won. They deserved it. That’s how you have to play to win this time of year.”
NOTES: Columbus scored three goals in a single period for the first time since Dec. 29 and scored six goals in a game for the first time since Dec. 14. … G Schneider missed his seventh straight game due to an injury. Kincaid started his sixth straight in his place. … F Jimmy Hayes and D Mirco Mueller were scratched for New Jersey. … F Lukas Sedlak and D Dean Kukan were scratches for the Blue Jackets.
Devils: Hosts Boston on Sunday.
Blue Jackets: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
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