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game recap

Bjorkstrand, Blue Jackets defeat Devils

Forward scores first two NHL goals; Atkinson, Jenner tied for team lead with 25

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

Bjorkstrand strikes again

NJD@CBJ: Bjorkstrand scores his second NHL goal

3/19/16: Oliver Bjorkstrand tallies his second NHL goal as he beats Yann Danis from the top of the circle, putting the Blue Jackets up 6-3

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COLUMBUS -- John Tortorella, coaching in his 1,000th NHL regular season game, still has things to learn, such as not putting too much into the head of Columbus Blue Jackets rookie center Oliver Bjorkstrand.

After Bjorkstrand was shuffled up and down the lines in his NHL debut Thursday, he settled into a spot at Nationwide Arena on Saturday and scored his first two goals in the third period to help the Blue Jackets defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3.

"I think I really screwed him up last game because we had so many line combinations, so we focused on keeping the lines together," said Tortorella, who became the first U.S. born coach to reach the mark.

Linemates Matt Calvert and Alexander Wennberg each had two assists. Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist, and Cam Atkinson, Seth Jones and William Karlsson also scored for Columbus (29-34-8).

Video: NJD@CBJ: Bjorkstrand scores his first NHL goal

The Blue Jackets are 4-0-0 vs. New Jersey this season. They play again Sunday at the Prudential Center.

"I don't know if it's the building or the way we play match up," Devils forward Kyle Palmieri said. "We talked about it this morning and before the game. We haven't given them our best effort yet. That continued tonight."

Palmieri scored twice and had an assist, and Adam Henrique scored for New Jersey (34-31-7). Keith Kinkaid made 16 saves before being replaced by Yann Danis 2:50 into the second period. Danis made 12 saves in relief. The Devils have lost two straight.

Three goals were scored in a 45 second span of the third period.

Video: NJD@CBJ: Atkinson nets power-play goal off deflection

Palmieri's second of the game, his 27th of the season, at 49 seconds tied the game at 3-3. It was the Devils' third straight goal.

Bjorkstrand's first goal made it 4-3 at 1:23 after taking a pass in the slot from Wennberg.

"It was a special goal, your first NHL goal," Bjorkstrand said. "It bounced in to the slot. I happened to be in the right spot. It went in."

Bjorkstrand had played a strong two-way game prior to the goal and the bench erupted when he scored.

Video: NJD@CBJ: Jones gives the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead

"It was great. He deserved it," Jenner said. "It's a monkey off the back for him. They were big goals for us, too."

Karlsson scored 11 seconds later to put Columbus ahead 5-3.

"We gathered ourselves pretty well to tie the game," Devils coach John Hynes said. "After that, the couple of goals they got real quick were around the net, which we talked about. We had an opportunity to tie the game and then win it but we didn't play well enough defensively."

Karlsson was at the edge of the crease when Gregory Campbell slid the puck across to him.

Video: NJD@CBJ: Jenner beats Kinkaid from the circle

"They definitely responded. I needed to make a big save to keep it close," Danis said. "They threw it at the net and had two or three guys crashing the net. They had the bounces. Those two goals obviously killed our momentum."

Bjorkstrand, a third-round pick (89th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft and the Western Hockey League Player of the Year last season, scored from the right dot at 6:38 for a 6-3 lead.

Tortorella was not surprised by Bjorkstrand's goals.

"You could almost sense it, even early in the game," Tortorella said. "The puck was following him around."

Video: NJD@CBJ: Palmieri gets the Devils on the board

It was a matter of getting the first game jitters out of the way.

"The second game I knew what I came into. I was more comfortable," Bjorkstrand said.

The Blue Jackets appeared to be cruising after building a 3-0 lead before giving up the next three.

Columbus took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Atkinson, his 25th of the season, at 10:38 of the first.

Video: NJD@CBJ: Henrique tallies on a partial breakaway

Jones' third goal of the season on a slap shot beyond the right circle, which deflected off Devils defenseman Adam Larsson's stick, made it 2-0 at 14:56.

Jenner scored at 2:50 of the second with a goal from the top of the right circle. Jenner tied Atkinson for the Columbus lead with his 25th goal of the season.

That's when Kinkaid was pulled. A few moments earlier Kinkaid was hit in the head by Campbell in the crease and appeared shaken up and annoyed that there was no call. Jenner scored on the next shot Kinkaid faced.

"That's got to be a save there," Hynes said.

Video: Blue Jackets use big 3rd period to down Devils, 6-3

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