The Blue Jackets went into Newark on Friday night hoping to snap a couple of streaks.
The Jackets were winless in their last seven games entering their matchup with the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. They were also winless at Prudential Center in general, never earning a regulation win in New Jersey in franchise history. Both of those streaks came to an end courtesy of a 3-2 Jackets win, Sergei Bobrovsky’s first victory since Jan. 19 in Minnesota.
Early on it was a game that felt similar to last weekend’s meeting between the two squads, with the Jackets dominating long stretches of the first period. On this night, however, it was the Jackets getting the benefit of a long-range wrister by a defenseman for a first period lead, and it was the Jackets who withstood a third period surge to hang on for two points.
It was hard to imagine Devils goaltender Cory Schneider could be any better than he was in Columbus last week with a 33-save shutout. By that very understanding one might think the Jackets were overdue to sneak one past Schneider, and they did so with a seeing-eye wrister from the blue line at 6:41.
Todd Richards stressed on Thursday that the Jackets had to “keep throwing pucks and keep throwing bodies” to beat Schneider, and the Jackets did both on their first goal. Justin Falk, playing in his second game with the Jackets since arriving via trade on Mar. 2, sailed the puck on goal through traffic from the left point with Brian Gibbons planted right in front of Schneider. The puck found its way through the bodies and over the glove of Schneider to give Columbus the game's first goal for only the second time in the past eight games.
“A lot of times it’s all about getting (the puck) past the first and second guy in your lane,” said Falk of the goal that had four different official scoring changes before finally landing on him. “I think someone might have gotten a stick on it, but it went in and it’s all good.”
It was Falk’s first goal in 90 games, dating back to Jan. 24, 2012. He added an assist for good measure.
It’s hard to deny that Brandon Dubinsky is a driving force for the Blue Jackets when he’s playing at full strength. Dubinsky made his return to the lineup on Friday after missing three games with a concussion, and in a notably physical affair with the Devils, Dubinsky was again an impact player on both sides of the puck.
The Jackets were able to capitalize on several sloppy mistakes by the Devils, and when Patrik Elias made a no-look drop pass in the neutral zone onto the tape of Nick Foligno, Dubinsky sprung up into the rush. Dubinsky took the pass from Foligno and fired in stride from the off-wing to catch Schneider off guard and put the Jackets ahead 2-0.
Dubinsky was a among the Jackets' best forwards with two points and a plus-2 rating, in addition to winning 57 percent of his draws for the night. The Jackets are 7-0-0 this season when Dubinsky records a multi-point game.