Three-goal Second Period Lifts Blue Jackets Past Wild

Riley Nash scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket, and Cam Atkinson extended his points-streak to nine games as Columbus doubles up Minnesota, 4-2.

A three-goal second period propelled the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at Nationwide Arena. While Cam Atkinson extended his points-streak to nine games, off-season acquisition Riley Nash had a big night, earning two points, including his first goal as a Blue Jacket, as the Blue Jackets defeated Minnesota 4-2.

Sergei Bobrovsky picks up his 10th win, making 23 saves on 25 shots while Devan Dubnyk suffered the loss, stopping 25 of 29 shots.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, a healthy scratch the past four games, started in place of the injured Anthony Duclair, who is considered day-to-day. Before the game, when asked about his expectation for Bjorkstrand, John Tortorella’s words were quick and succinct. “Play better.”

Bjorkstrand seemed to heed the message, making himself noticeable in several key opportunities as the game played on. Including a nice play around the defense, making a move to the net and nearly getting off a quality scoring chance, but Matt Dumba’s stick just got enough to steer it wide. He earned 12:49 ice-time, with thee shots on goal and 1:36 on the power play.

Mikael Granlund, leading the Wild with 23 points coming in, extended that total with a goal in the first period. Bobrovsky’s failed clear attempt out from behind the net was taken in by Eric Staal on the near boards. Staal connected with Granlund, coming into the zone, and fired a slap shot from the top of the circle to Bobrovsky’s left to give Minnesota the early lead.

Minnesota had their one and only power play chance in the first period and did not record a shot on net.

Markus Hannikainen tied the score for his third on the season. Riley Nash and David Savard picked up assists, as Hannikainen connected on the cross-ice feed from Nash.

Jason Zucker hobbled off the ice and into the dressing room late in the first period after blocking Markus Nutivaara’s shot off the toe area of his skate. He would return to the game.

Atkinson extended his points streak to nine games with the go-ahead second period goal. He leads the team with 16 goals on the season, and with the goal coming on the power play, he surpasses Duclair with his team-leading fifth power play goal. Atkinson’s points streak ties a career-high set in 2016-17. He now has goals in eight of his last nine games.

Nash, who earned his third assist of the season in the first period, recorded his first goal of the season with the deflection in front of the net in the second period to put Columbus ahead 3-1. The goal broke a 29-game goal drought, dating back to last season, when Nash was a member of the Bruins.

Artemi Panarin, who ended his career-long 12-game goal drought Monday in Detroit, scored his second in as many games to extend the Blue Jackets lead to 4-1. His shot, coming from the circle to the right of Dubnyk, just beat the goalie glove side.

Only 42 seconds after Panarin’s goal, the Wild responded with a much needed tally of their own. Zach Parise, scoring his 12th, cut the deficit back to two as he wrapped the shot past Bobrovsky. He is now on a six-game points-streak.

What would have been the fourth Blue Jackets goal of the second period was initially waived off, and the call upheld, after video review due to goaltender interference.

On a power play late in the second period, Bjorkstrand’s one-time shot was stopped by Dubnyk, but the puck crossed the goal line in the ensuing commotion — Boone Jenner and Josh Anderson among the Blue Jackets — inside the crease. The review was for the initial shot, and whether the puck crossed the line as a result of that shot. It was deemed that the puck did not originally clear the goal line, and goaltender interference was the reason the puck went into the back of the net.

The score remained 4-2.

Pierre-Luc Dubois had two assists, giving him his eighth multi-point game of the year. He had 12 all of last season. Dubois now has 14 points in his last nine games. Tortorella coached his 1,200th game, becoming the 18th coach in NHL history, fifth active, to achieve that mark. Scott Harrington played in his 100th NHL game.

The Blue Jackets victory puts them into first place over idle Washington. They finish up the month of November 9-3-2, 4-0-1 at home. Columbus’ next game is Saturday night at the Islanders, 7:00 p.m.

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