The Blue Jackets (21-12-3) entered the Christmas break by running their winning streak to four, downing New Jersey Devils (12-16-7) by a 3-0 score Sunday at the Prudential Center.
Game in a Paragraph
The Blue Jackets scored on their first two shots of the game and that was more than enough for Sergei Bobrovsky in the shutout victory. The top line added two more goals, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored, and the win gave Columbus points in six straight games (5-0-1).
Quote of the Game
Captain Nick Foligno: "These are points for April. These are ones that if you're not as sharp as you need to be or as focused as you need to be, they slip away from you and they're ones you want back. I was really proud of the group."
- Bobrovsky turned aside 39 shots by New Jersey for his second shutout on the year and the week.
- Cam Atkinson scored his 23rd goal of the season, giving him four goals in the last three games.
- Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist, giving him a team-high 39 points on the season and five in two games.
It didn't take long for the Jackets to get on top with two goals in the first 5:31.
First Atkinson continued his torrid goal-scoring pace with a tally 4:03 into the game. Panarin kept the puck in at the blue line, got into the left circle and then found Atkinson alone cutting to the back door, and he wouldn't miss from there.
Video: CBJ@NJD: Panarin turns on the jets, nets backhander
"It's always good to get the first one, especially in an away barn," Atkinson said. "They're coming off a big win, we beat them the game before, so we knew we were going to get their best. To feel good right away, it's good for us."
Just 1:28 later, it was 2-0. Alexander Wennberg skated the puck down the left-wing boards and fitted a pass all the way across to the right post, where Oliver Bjorkstrand settled it and fired over Keith Kinkaid for his fourth goal of the year.
"I was just trying to get open and he was trying to make a pass," Bjorkstrand said. "He likes to pass the puck. He saw the lane and he gave it to me, and I tapped it in so it was nice. It bounced on me a little bit. Normally I try to shoot it right away but I settled it down and got it high. Obviously It's nice that it went in."
That was it as far as offense in the period, with Columbus getting just one more shot on goal, but Sergei Bobrovsky had to make only seven saves himself, with his best against Brett Seney as the winger got in behind the defense and cut across the crease.
Columbus made it 3-0 when Panarin scored on a fantastic individual effort. The winger skated in alone in a solo rush and, with little angle, flicked a backhander far side over the glove of Kinkaid for his 11th goal of the season at 10:47.
That was it for Kinkaid, who was replaced after the third Jackets goal on 11 shots with Mackenzie Blackwood.
New Jersey was given a prime chance to score late in the second with 1:41 of a two-man advantage thanks to a high-sticking call on Seth Jones and a bench minor for too many men on the ice. But Columbus stood strong, with Bobrovsky making four saves - including an incredible save off the tip of his glove on a slap shot by Will Butcher - and the trio of Ryan Murray, David Savard and Boone Jenner helping save off the onslaught.
"It's huge," Bobrovsky said. "It gives us a boost of energy. As you say, a 1:40 5-on-3, Murr broke his stick so it's actually a 5-on-2-and-a-half guys. It's hard, and it obviously gives you some push."
Bobrovsky also stepped up to deny Miles Wood on a partial breakaway early in the third and continued to be strong as the period went on, including a late rebound stop on Brian Boyle to preserve the shutout. In all, he made 19 saves in the third.
By the Numbers
Panarin is now one goal from 100 in the NHL. … Columbus improved to 11-5-1 on the road. … The Devils had earned points in 13 of 16 home games. … Bobrovksy is now 15-5-1 vs. New Jersey. … Murray played in his 300th NHL game and finished with an assist. ... Columbus finished 0-4 on the power play while New Jersey was 0-2. ... Columbus had 20 shots on goal, its second lowest total of the season. The lowest total was 19 in Saturday's game vs. Philadelphia. ... Bobrovsky now has 26 shutouts in a Blue Jackets uniform.
Forward Lukas Sedlak and defenseman Dean Kukan remained healthy scratches for the Jackets.
The Blue Jackets are off for the next three days for the holiday but return to the ice Thursday with a game at the New York Rangers (Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports app, 97.1 The Fan).