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game recap

Blue Jackets top Canadiens, tie them for second wild card

Bjorkstrand has two goals, Columbus scores five unanswered

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

Bjorkstrand's tip-in tally

MTL@CBJ: Bjorkstrand redirects goal from in front

Oliver Bjorkstrand gets his stick on Seth Jones' shot to deflect it through the five-hole of Carey Price, tying the score at 2

  • 01:12 •

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets tied the Montreal Canadiens for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference by defeating them 6-2 at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

Columbus (43-30-4) and Montreal (41-29-8) are one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the first wild card. The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes have a game in hand on the Canadiens. 

The Hurricanes lost 3-2 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

 

[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Blue Jackets highlights]

 

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and extended his goal streak to three games, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the Blue Jackets, who have won three straight.

"We had a little bit of slow start and they came out flying more than we did," Bjorkstrand said. "The positive thing is we found a way to bounce back. Halfway through the (first) period we started to pick it up. The second and third periods we took steps."

Video: MTL@CBJ: Savard one-times home heavy slap shot

Carey Price made 24 saves for the Canadiens, who led 2-1 in the second period.

Brett Kulak put the Canadiens ahead 1-0 at 1:15 of the first period with a shot from the point to end Bobrovsky's shutout streak at 160:40. It was his second goal in two games.

David Savard tied it 1-1 at 1:42 of the second with the defenseman's second goal in four games. 

Foligno led the rush and passed to his right to Brandon Dubinsky. Savard skated between the circles for the one-timer.

Bobrovsky credited the line of Foligno, Dubinsky and Riley Nash for getting the Blue Jackets engaged. Columbus did not have a shot until 10:14 of the first period.

Video: MTL@CBJ: Kulak fires opening goal through traffic

"They gave us energy," Bobrovsky said. "We didn't have a good start but with their work ethic, they work hard, they dragged the team into the game and gave us a chance."

Jeff Petry put the Canadiens up 2-1 at 8:36 during a 4-on-4 situation. He scored from a sharp angle with a shot that went between the left post and Bobrovsky's pad. 

Bjorkstrand made it 2-2 at 11:50 by redirecting a Seth Jones shot from the right point. 

"They definitely came with a harder push in the second period," Price said. "We came out hard and fast in the first, and they gave us a push back and started playing a little more physical. 

"I thought we handled it fine, but again, just a little puck management stuff that worked against us tonight, and that's what happened."

Artemi Panarin took a cross-ice pass from Matt Duchene and scored from the left circle to give Columbus a 3-2 lead at 14:24. He has a goal in two straight games.

Video: MTL@CBJ: Nash steals puck, buries own rebound

Duchene twirled around defenseman Victor Mete to create space along the wall before feeding Panarin.

"Everyone knew we were down one goal (going into the third)," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said. "We had the mindset going in we needed one goal. They were able to capitalize before we were, and then we forced things."

Nash scored his first goal in 49 games since Nov. 29 to make it 4-2 at 2:59 of the third, stealing the puck at the blue line and scoring on his own rebound. 

"He made a nice save there," Nash said of Price. "I thought for a second he was going to reach back there and stop it from going in."

Bjorkstrand increased the lead to 5-2 at 4:22 on the rush off a pass from Dean Kukan for his fifth goal in five games.

Dubinsky scored into an empty net at 16:49 for the 6-2 final.

Video: MTL@CBJ: Bobrovsky shuts down Drouin's redirect

 

They said it

"No matter how bad this loss hurts, we have character players in this room, character players that care and want to do well, and as a coach you love seeing that. I've got a lot of young guys, but I've also got a lot of veterans. It's a good mix." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien

"In tight games … it's usually the team that cracks first that loses. We definitely cracked first." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher

"Don't let this moment go by and regret it later. You know what? Maybe I was too nervous, or I didn't do enough. Leave it there. Leave it on the ice." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on the message between the first and second period

 

Need to know

Blue Jackets defenseman Adam McQuaid left the game after being checked high by Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw at 8:23 of the second period. Shaw received an interference penalty. There was no update after the game. … Shaw, who played his 500th NHL game, had an assist to give him seven points (one goal, six assists) in his past six games. … Montreal center Max Domi played his 300th NHL game. 

 

What's next

Canadiens: At the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, SNE, SNW, SNP, TVAS, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-TN, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Bjorkstrand scores two as Blue Jackets beat Habs, 6-2

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