COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 shots and James Wisniewski had a goal and two assists to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 victory over the struggling New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
The loss dropped the Devils to 0-5-2 on the road and 1-5-3 on the season.
Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist, and Cam Atkinson and Marian Gaborik also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the second time at home after four consecutive losses. They are 13-3-3 in their last 19 home games.
The Devils led 1-0 after Michael Ryder’s power-play goal in the second period, but Dubinsky responded with a man-advantage goal. Atkinson and Wisniewski, still battling the flu, each added unassisted goals.
Corey Schneider had 20 saves for the Devils, who were coming off a 4-0 victory over the New York Rangers that had ended a club-record, season-opening seven-game winless streak.
Already up 2-1, the Blue Jackets made it a two-goal lead at 4:12 of the third. The Devils had a bad turnover in their defensive zone, with Wisniewski stepping across the blue line and almost pushing the puck toward the net. The puck hit the stick of defenseman Mark Fayne and went through to Schneider before tumbling over the goal line.
That was more than enough of a cushion for Bobrovsky, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goalie. He came in with just two wins despite a .921 save percentage while starting the first seven games.
He made several solid saves in the second period, in particular, but wasn’t tested much in the third.
After a scoreless opening period, each team got on the board on the power play.
Ryder scored in his second game in a row, taking a pass from Jaromir Jagr and lifting the puck high and inside the far post at the 6:24 mark for his fourth of the season.
At that point, the Devils had taken all eight shots on goal of the period.
But Jagr was called for holding and the Blue Jackets countered when Wisniewski, who didn’t practice earlier in the day because of illness, hit a hard shot from the right point that nicked teammate R.J. Umberger at the right doorstep. The puck eventually trickled off Umberger’s right skate into the crease and Dubinsky dived to chip it in at the 9:56 mark.
Each goalie made a spectacular stop soon after the goals, with Schneider stopping Umberger on a 2-on-1 before Bobrovsky slid laterally to make a big save on Dainius Zubrus off a backdoor pass from Jagr.
The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead at 15:30 when Atkinson gloved a puck lazily wafting through the air, settled it, and then skated toward the high slot. Atkinson’s backhander made it through a congested crease for his third of the season. The goal was unassisted.
Gaborik scored his fourth goal on an empty-netter with 35 seconds left in the game.
NOTES: Jagr played in his 1,400th NHL game. He is the active leader in goals (683, 10th all-time), assists (1,011, 12th) and points (1,694, 8th). ... The Blue Jackets are 29-0-0 when leading after two periods since Jan. 9, 2012. ... The Devils allowed assistant coach Mike Foligno to fly to Columbus on Sunday so he could spend time with his son Nick, a Blue Jackets forward, his wife and new granddaughter Milana, diagnosed with a heart condition soon after her Oct. 14 birth. ... The Devils fell to 1-2-3 when scoring first, while the Blue Jackets are 3-1-0 when down 1-0. ... It was Columbus D David Savard’s 23rd birthday.
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