EditorsNote: adds “(0-2-1)” in third graf; fixes “lay” in last graf
Cam Atkinson scored what proved to be the game-winning goal on a penalty shot in the second period Thursday night as the host Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1.
Nick Foligno also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won three of four (3-0-1) despite scoring just eight goals in that span. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves, including several spectacular stops in the third period.
Taylor Hall scored for the Devils, who have lost three straight (0-2-1) and 11 of 13 (2-6-5). Mackenzie Blackwood, making his first NHL start, recorded 36 saves.
A nifty assist by Pierre-Luc Dubois led to the goal that gave the Blue Jackets a lead they’d never relinquish early in the first period. Dubois, skating into a crowd of Devils in the crease, threaded a pass between New Jersey defensemen Sami Vatanen and Damon Severson and to Foligno, who tucked the puck into the open left corner of the net at the 4:17 mark.
A hooking penalty on Severson as Atkinson raced in for a breakaway opportunity led to Atkinson’s penalty-shot goal 1:15 into the second period. Atkinson shuffled the puck as he descended upon Blackwood before faking him out as he got into the crease. With Blackwood leaning to his right, Atkinson tapped the puck off the left post and into the net.
Hall cut the gap in half with a breakaway goal a little more than nine minutes later. Kyle Palmieri’s clearing pass hit Hall in stride before Hall raced up the ice and beat Bobrovsky from point-blank range with 9:21 remaining in the middle period.
The Devils had several prime chances to tie the score in the third period but could not convert. Blake Coleman’s shot in the opening minute bounced off the top of the crossbar and skittered across the back of the crease. Bobrovsky left the right corner of the net wide open while saving a shot by Brett Seney, but Brian Boyle’s put-back sailed across the crease.
Coleman had a breakaway opportunity turned back by Bobrovsky, who fell on the puck as it lay just in front of the red line as Coleman crashed into the net. The Devils thought they tied the game on a put-back by Palmieri with 1:51 left, but the puck remained underneath Bobrovsky as he slid across the crease.
—Field Level Media