After a 14-game goalless drought, Nick Foligno
scored three goals and added an assist to lead the Blue Jackets to a lopsided 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.
“It was just a good win, especially coming back off the road, to be able to get some goals for these guys. It’s been a trying year from that department, but it was nice to see,” Foligno said after the game.
“The hustle and the way we played at the start of the game, we could see it. The attention was there, the focus was there and we had a good night because of it.”
Foligno’s four-point effort (hat trick plus an assist), the first of his NHL career, made him one of three Blue Jackets players with at least three points in the game — the other two being Matt Calvert and William Karlsson (three assists each), the latter doing so for the first time in his career.
“It was a team effort, for sure,” said Karlsson. "In the first, we were flying all four lines and every guy had a good game and you can see on the scoreboard. That’s why it’s 6-1.”
Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky and Rene Bourque also scored in what was the Blue Jackets' third straight win over the Devils. And, unlike other games in this 2015-16 campaign, the Blue Jackets wasted no time getting started.
Columbus’ captain opened the scoring at 5:20 of the first period after Calvert, working behind the net, fed the puck to a wide open Foligno, who beat Devils goaltender Cory Schneider to put the Jackets ahead early.
About three minutes later, Foligno added on with his second goal of the night at 8:12.
Saad added on late in the frame (19:13) to put the Blue Jackets ahead 3-0 after 20 minutes. The tally tied his previous career high of 23 goals, and currently has him in the team's goal scoring lead.
After Keith Kinkaid relieved Schneider between the pipes for the start of the second period, the Devils came out (ahem) hot.
Joonas Korpisalo had another solid night in goal for Columbus and made 25 saves, only allowing one goal by Reid Boucher at 1:38 of the second. If not for his play early in the second period, the game may have unfolded differently.
New Jersey had plenty of chances in the first eight minutes of the frame, but Korpisalo stayed solid and kept Columbus ahead.
“I was just more proud of they way we played,” Foligno said. “Every line was playing pretty well tonight. Our line was producing, but a lot of good things and we had great (defense). Our (defense) was outstanding. Korpi actually in the second period kept us in quite a bit, and that’s what you need in a goaltender and he’s been nothing short of great.”
Foligno completed the hat trick - the second of his career and first since Apr. 4, 2015 against Pittsburgh - on a fortunate carom in the crease came at 13:32 of the second period.
Dubinsky, playing in his 600th career NHL game, beat Kinkaid at 18:47 of the second to make it a 5-1 Blue Jackets lead after 40 minutes. Rene Bourque capped the scoring with a breakaway goal in the final minute of regulation.
“(Foligno’s) a great player and great players have luck too, so it was just a matter of time,” Karlsson said of his captain's big night. “Hopefully we can keep this going and get more goals. It just feels great. Everything (Foligno) touched turned to gold. Our line played good and the whole team played really great.”