Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his first-ever NHL goal tonight in the third period and added on another later in the frame to help the Blue Jackets defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 at Nationwide Arena.
“It’s nice to get the first goal and then one more after that,” Bjorkstrand said after the game. “I feel really good right now. Torts was putting me out there a lot (to try to get a third goal) and all the guys were trying to get the puck to me, so it’s nice to get all that support.”
After making his NHL debut on Thursday against the Red Wings, Bjorkstrand said he felt more comfortable tonight. He recorded six shots on goal and said he had a “good feeling” all night.
“I feel like after the first game, I realized a few times when I had the puck I threw it away too fast and I had to feel a little more comfortable with the puck,” Bjorkstrand said. “This game I could really feel the level of confidence was a lot higher.”
“We ended up playing better as a team and the young kid comes in here, really both of them, (Michael Chaput) and (Bjorkstrand). I thought they played well and everybody contributed,” Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella said.
Tonight Tortorella became the 26th coach in the NHL (10th active) to reach 1,000 regular season games and the first U.S.-born coach to do so. His evaluation of the game?
“We played hard and there wasn’t really a long meeting tonight (after the game),” Tortorella added. “We didn’t spend much time talking about Jersey. We talked about just trying to get our game back and playing harder and I thought we did. (We) had some dips in the game, but I thought we played hard.”
Columbus took an early 3-0 lead, but New Jersey hung on and added two goals in the second before Kyle Palmieri scored the third 0:49 into the third period to tie the game. But that’s as close as the visitors would get.
The Blue Jackets will play in the back-end of the home-and-home series against the Devils tomorrow night at Prudential Center.
“It turned into a pretty strange game there,” Tortorella said. “We’re up three nothing and then they battle back. I thought even before the game, the mood of the room was good. I thought we had good meetings and we simplified everything and just worried about ourselves. I’m glad we bounced back, ‘cause we just gotta play our games the proper way and then we’ll move on from there.”