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game recap

Blue Jackets top Golden Knights, pad edge in wild-card race

Hold second spot in Eastern Conference by two points

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday to maintain the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Columbus (34-28-5) is two points ahead of the Florida Panthers and three points behind the New Jersey Devils for the first wild card.

 

[WATCH: All Golden Knights vs. Blue Jackets highlights]

 

Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had a goal and two assists, and defensemen Zach Werenski and Ian Cole scored for the Blue Jackets. Joonas Korpisalo, starting in place of Sergei Bobrovsky (illness), made 37 saves

Erik Haula scored and Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves for the Golden Knights (42-19-5), who have lost four of five (1-3-1). Vegas leads the San Jose Sharks by 10 points for first place in the Pacific Division.

Korpisalo lost his previous three starts, allowing 14 goals. He won for the first time since defeating the Dallas Stars 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 18.

Video: VGK@CBJ: Korpisalo gloves down Marchessault's blast

"For the team, it's huge. Every point matters," Korpisalo said. "It's been tough for me the past four weeks. Finally, I can help the team out.  

"They had [19] shots in the first. The boys did a good job on the rebounds. I got a good flow in the first period and it was easy to build off that."

Panarin scored his 21st goal 16 seconds into the first period on a rebound near the left post for a 1-0 lead. He has three goals in the past two games. 

Dubois had a goal nullified at 6:14 when Vegas successfully used a coach's challenge that Cam Atkinson was offside.

Haula made it 1-1 at 1:30 of the second period with his 24th goal.

"There's a lot of good things we did on the offensive side of the puck," Haula said. "Defensively, we need to make it harder."

Werenski put Columbus ahead 2-1 at 8:01. His 13th of the season set a Blue Jackets record for goals in a season by a defenseman. Bryan Berard (2005-06) and Seth Jones last season each had 12 goals.

It was the second goal in three games for Werenski after not scoring in the previous 25.

"Slumps happen to everyone," Werenski said. "Good players find a way to get out of them. Obviously, mine was pretty long. I'm happy to be out of it."

Video: VGK@CBJ: Dubois seals the win with empty-net goal

Cole, acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 26, scored from the left point with a shot that slipped between Fleury and the left post for a 3-1 lead at 9:47. His first goal with Columbus was his fourth of the season.

"Their defensemen were really spreading the zone," Golden Knights forward David Perron said. "It gives them a little more room. It was tough for our guys to defend.

"Overall, I thought we got better and better as the game went on. We just couldn't get that second goal."

Dubois scored into an empty net with 2:21 left in the third period for a 4-1 lead. The rookie has 15 goals.

"It was fun to get that goal, especially after that first one got cancelled out," he said.

 

Goal of the game

Panarin's goal at 16 seconds of the first period.

Video: VGK@CBJ: Panarin scores 16 seconds into the game

 

Save of the game

Korpisalo's save of Perron at 19:41 of the second period.

Video: VGK@CBJ: Korpisalo absorbs Perron's strong wrist shot

 

Highlight of the game

Werenski's goal at 8:01 of the second period.

Video: VGK@CBJ: Werenski buries one-timer to set club record

 

They said it

"We had real good moments in the game and there were other moments we didn't play so well. I thought we played well enough to win the hockey game. Most times you play that game you're going to win that game." -- Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant

"The team likes playing in front of him. There were a few struggles here and there but he was solid from the get-go. He not only played good, but he looked good too. He looked like, 'I'm playing well tonight.' " -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on goaltender Joonas Korpisalo

"I kind of fooled him with the knuckle-puck there." -- Blue Jackets defenseman Ian Cole on scoring against former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Marc-Andre Fleury

 

Need to know

Vegas first-line right wing Reilly Smith did not come out for the third period after being checked into the boards late in the second. Gallant did not have an update. … Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (hand) returned after missing seven games. He had one hit in 11:27. … Vegas forward William Karlsson, who has 35 goals in 66 games, returned to Columbus for the first time since being selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. He had one shot and was minus-3 in 16:21. … Panarin's goal was the fastest from the start of the game for the Blue Jackets this season. Josh Anderson scored at 30 seconds vs. the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 9. 

 

What's next

Golden Knights: At the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Panarin, Blue Jackets top Golden Knights, 4-1

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