TRAVERSE CITY - They did not have an opportunity win a third straight title at the NHL Prospects Tournament, but the Blue Jackets made sure they left beautiful northern Michigan feeling good about themselves.
A solid 6-4 victory over the New York Rangers gave them third place in the tournament, capping a 3-1-0 weekend with but one blemish (a Friday night loss to Detroit) on their record.
Right from the opening draw, they were engaged and ready to go against the New York Rangers rookies. Coach John Madden was able to get all four lines involved and use his entire bench, which kept the Blue Jackets fresh and able to continue playing at the high pace they set early on.
And on the scoresheet, they got things started early.
Pierre-Luc Dubois has gotten better with each game of this tournament and his strong play continued tonight. He set up line mate Nick Moutrey for a goal only 55 seconds into the game, and the lead swelled to 2-0 less than five minutes later.
Free agent invite defenseman Stephen Gibson jumped into an odd-man rush and buried a pass from 2016 seventh-round pick Calvin Thurkauf, staking the Blue Jackets out to a deserved two-goal advantage.
The Columbus lead was 3-1 at 6:59 of the second period when Moutrey scored his second of the game - created by a great pass from Sonny Milano out front to Moutrey, who had plenty of net to cash in.
New York tallied twice in the second period, both goals coming off the stick of Jimmy Vesey, to tie the game at 3-3 but the Blue Jackets were able to bounce back and finish the period with a power play opportunity, one that carried over into the third period.
And 47 seconds into the third period, they got the lead right back.
On the power play, Milano, Dubois and Dante Salituro teamed up for a beautifully-executed goal to put the Blue Jackets ahead 4-3. Milano found Dubois up high, and Dubois' pass was on the tape of Salituro in the slot for a perfect re-direction.
Kole Sherwood and Justin Scott (who led the team in goals during the tournament with four) added third-period goals for the Blue Jackets, who got 19 saves from camp invite Lucas Perissini between the pipes.
Next up: training camp in Columbus, which begins later this week with physicals and off-ice testing. The first on-ice session is scheduled for Friday morning.