Last night, the Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up their six game homestand by hosting the New Jersey Devils. The Jackets, fresh off of their first shutout victory of the season over the Vegas Golden Knights, looked to build a winning streak before heading out on the road for a weekend back to back against the Philadelphia Flyers and visiting these same Devils.
Both teams made lineup changes before the game; the Devils’ was slightly surprising:
#CBJ will be facing MacKenzie Blackwood in net for #NJDevils tonight. It will be Blackwood’s first career NHL start.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) December 20, 2018
Devils have some other lineup shakeups, as well, after 7-2 home loss to the #Leafs on Tuesday.
Santini drawing back into the lineup is one of them.
For the Jackets, Artemi Panarin was available and went right back into the lineup:
Torts: With Panarin back after missing one game (LBI), Sedlak comes out of the forward group for tonight’s games. #CBJ— Alison (@AlisonL) December 20, 2018
Sergei Bobrovsky, fresh off of his first shutout of the season, got the start in net for Columbus.
Here’s what unfolded in Nationwide Arena.
The Jackets shook the lines up tonight, with Anthony Duclair moving up with Nick Foligno and Alex Wennberg:
The Jackets opened the game on the front foot, but were unable to generate a shot for their effort as the Devils collapsed to protect the debut netminder Blackwood.
Nick Foligno put the second shot on goal for Columbus and, like the Vegas game, he opened the scoring. Foligno was waiting on the back side of a wide open net and Pierre-Luc Dubois was able to find him after Duclair did an excellent job keeping the puck in the zone.
Columbus goal (1-0): Foligno from Dubois and Jones, 4:17
After the goal, the JAckets’ zone domination continued as the Devils failed to register a shot through the first eight minutes. With 8:30 gone, the Devils were sprung on a breakaway but Sergei Bobrovsky was able to keep Miles Wood off the scoreboard.
Riley Nash hit the goalpost with 9:20 to go as the Jackets’ domination of ice time continued.
With 8:02 remaining, Kyle Palmieri went to the box for interference on Artemi Panarin as the Jackets earned the first power play of the night. Through the first 40 seconds, the best chance belonged to the Devils on a 2 on 1 rush while on the kill. The Devils were able to kill the power play, allowing two shots and no sustained zone time while the Devils had the best scoring chance.
Despite extended time in the offensive zone, the Jackets were unable to break through as the even strength domination continued. After some pushing and shoving, Brandon Dubinsky and Brett Seney went off for fighting while Brian Boyle went off for roughing at 17:45, giving the Jackets a power play chance. Torts elected to put the top line along with Jones and Werenski out there and, despite extended zone time and several chances by Panarin and Dubois, the Jackets were unable to capitalize.
After one, the Jackets led 1-0 and led 16-5 in shots.
The second period opened with the Jackets remaining on the gas, driving play. 1:15 into the period, Cam Atkinson on a breakaway earned a penalty shot, and there was no doubt as he converted it for his 20th goal of the season.
Columbus goal (2-0): Atkinson, 1:15
Atkinson registered his 20th goal for the sixth time in his Blue Jackets career, trailing only Rick Nash (8 times).
#CAMSANITY now with 20 goals in 6-straight seasons, the 2nd #CBJ player to accomplish the feat (Rick Nash; 8-straight from 2003-12). At 20 goals in 33 GP, it's the 2nd-fastest to a 20-goal campaign in club history (Rick Nash; 20 goals in 31 GP in 2003-04).— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 21, 2018
The second period got chipppy, until finally Taylor Hall was able to get the Devils on the board. Hall beat Bobrovsky, who stacked his pads but was roofed by Hall.
Taylor Hall breaks free, puts one past Bobrovsky uncontested and it's 2-1 #CBJ now ... roofed it over the prone goalie.— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) December 21, 2018
9:21 left in the 2nd
The best chance to end the period was from Zach Werenski, but the young defenseman was only able to hit the post with his effort.
Both teams struggled to get their power plays going in the third period. Neither team managed to convert on opportunities. Alexander Wennberg nearly scored his second of the season, but sadly, it was deemed to have been stopped before it crossed the goal line.
The Blue Jackets managed to grind out a win, however, seeing off the Devils and closing the homestand with a win.
#CBJ remain perfect on Thursdays this season (10-0-0; 5-0-0 at home). It's tied for 2nd-longest win streak on any day to begin a season in #NHL history (MTL on Thu. in 1953-54 & STL on Thu. in 2013-14). The record is 12-straight wins by DET on Wednesdays in 2007-08.— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) December 21, 2018
Columbus Blue Jackets 2 New Jersey Devils 1