Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice as the host Columbus Blue Jackets moved into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference after posting a 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
Bjorkstrand has five goals in his last five games for the Blue Jackets, who have won three in a row overall and a season-best five straight at home to match Montreal at 90 points with a game in hand.
Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky collected a goal and an assist, and Artemi Panarin, Riley Nash and defenseman David Savard also tallied. Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 26 saves on Thursday, has turned aside 146 of 151 shots in his last five outings.
Brett Kulak scored in his second consecutive contest, and fellow defenseman Jeff Petry also tallied for the Canadiens, who fell to 4-1-1 in their last six games. Carey Price yielded five goals on 29 shots on Thursday after surrendering 13 in his previous eight contests.
Matt Duchene made a nifty spin move along the right-wing boards before backhanding a feed to the left circle for Panarin, whose one-timer beat Price to give Columbus a 3-2 lead with 5:36 remaining in the second period. Panarin’s goal was his 27th of the season and second in as many contests after a 12-game goal drought.
Nash followed his own rebound on a partial breakaway and shoveled the puck in the net at 2:59 of the third period. Bjorkstrand converted a two-on-one rush just 1:23 later, and Dubinsky scored into an empty net to cap the scoring.
After Kulak beat a screened Bobrovsky to open the scoring 1:15 into the first period, Montreal preserved the slim advantage as defenseman Shea Weber alertly cleared the puck out of harm’s way after Bjorkstrand’s wraparound attempt resulted in the puck dancing along the goal line.
Savard unleashed a one-timer from above the left circle that beat Price over his glove to level the contest at 1 just 1:42 into the second period.
Petry banked the puck off Bobrovsky and into the net to give Montreal a 2-1 lead at 8:36 of the second period, but Bjorkstrand answered 3:14 later after deflecting defenseman Seth Jones’ shot from the point past Price.
—Field Level Media