NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -David Clarkson had a goal and an assist as the New Jersey Devils scored three times in the first period against Tim Thomas and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night.
Clarkson took the shot that Rob Niedermayer deflected in and then scored on a breakaway - set up by goalie Martin Brodeur - to make in 2-0. Zach Parise finished the barrage that assured the Devils (41-24-3) their 18th straight .500-plus season.
Blake Wheeler scored for the third consecutive game to cut Boston's deficit to 3-1 at 43 seconds of the middle period, but the eighth-place Bruins failed to stretch their lead at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Boston is one point ahead of the New York Rangers and has played one fewer game.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Antoine Vermette had two assists and scored the clinching empty-netter, and Kristian Huselius added a goal and three assists for Columbus.
Jake Voracek, Chris Clark and Marc Methot also scored for the Blue Jackets, who totaled only three goals in their previous two games. Derek Dorsett chipped in with two assists for the first multipoint game of his 91-game career.
It was a wild, wide-open game full of odd-man rushes. That wasn't a surprise, since the two teams rank near the bottom of the NHL in goals allowed.
Robert Nilsson and Aaron Johnson each had a goal and an assist and Dustin Penner also scored for the Oilers, who are just 1-14-1 on the road since mid-December.