In a key Metro showdown between the two top teams in the division, Columbus welcomed New Jersey to Nationwide Arena and watched the Devils use a big second period to earn a key 4-1 win that moved the visitors ahead of the Blue Jackets for first place.
IN A PARAGRAPH
Despite stretches of rather strong play, Columbus never led. A Nick Foligno goal in the first period allowed the Jackets to tie the score at 1, but the Devils had the only two goals of the second period and added an insurance tally in the third to earn the victory despite 42 CBJ shots on net.
- Foligno scored for Columbus, potting his third goal in seven games.
- Zach Werenski had a career-high 10 shots on goal in the game.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand snapped a four-game streak without a point with an assist.
Columbus finished 0 for 6 on the power play. ... The trio of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson were a combined minus-5 but on the ice for a combined 77 shot attempts for and 39 against at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick. ... The Blue Jackets gave up four goals for the second straight game after not doing so for an 11-game span. ... The Blue Jackets topped 40 shots on goal for the sixth time this year. ... Columbus fell to 10-5-0 at home, 5-7-0 when the opponent scores first and 5-4 vs. Metro opponents. ... The Jackets saw a five-game home win streak end. ... Former Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout was among New Jersey's scratches.
After Columbus put together some strong shifts in the early going, New Jersey scored first 4:24 into the game thanks to Travis Zajac. In transition off a neutral zone turnover, Stefan Noesen took the puck to the net, where it bounced around until Zajac was able to whack it past the pad of Bobrovsky to make it a 1-0 game with his first goal of the season.
Devils goalie Cory Schneider earned his keep in the next few minutes, denying both Cam Atkinson and Boone Jenner on the doorstep on feeds from south of the goal line, but he couldn't close the door forever.
The Jackets would soon tie the score at 1 with 6:14 remaining in the period, with Foligno getting the goal two seconds after the Jackets' first power-play chance of the night. Bjorkstrand took the shot from the top of the left circle, and Foligno was left by himself in front to tip it past Schneider.
It was 1-1 after a period, but New Jersey settled into the game early in the second and was rewarded with a goal 4:47 into the period to take a 2-1 lead. In transition, the first overall pick in the last draft, Nico Hischier, skated into the Blue Jackets zone along the right wing, cut toward the middle off the wall and then hit Taylor Hall in stride for a redirection past the lunging Bobrovsky.
New Jersey also finished the period well with a goal by Noesen in the final minute. The Blue Jackets went for a change after killing a penalty and the Devils took advantage, getting the puck up the ice quickly to beat Columbus back. Miles Wood fired a shot that went off and in fact dislodged the mask of Bobrovsky, and Noesen quickly swatted the rebound into the open net to make it 3-1.
Columbus built its game in the third period and earned a power play during which it buzzed around near the midway point, but disaster came shortly after. The team earned an offensive zone draw, but New Jersey won the faceoff and rushed up the ice. Jesper Bratt finished the rush with a rebound goal at 11:06 and the Devils held a 4-1 lead that stood up until the end.
Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... His D partner, Ryan Murray, continues to be out as well but skated this morning.
Columbus and New Jersey battle again, this time in the Garden State, on Friday night at 7 p.m.