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Devils knock off struggling Blue Jackets

Sportsnaut
Jan 6, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) skates with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86) skates with the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jesper Bratt scored a power-play goal early in the third period and Mackenzie Blackwood made 31 saves to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in Newark, N.J.

Bratt also had an assist on Tomas Tatar’s second goal in as many games for the Devils, who have won four of their last five outings. The victory allowed New Jersey to avenge a 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus on Oct. 31.

Jack Hughes scored into an empty net and had two assists to extend his point streak to five games (four goals, eight assists).

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff returned to the bench after missing three games in COVID-19 protocol.

Max Domi scored and Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 25 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped 11 of their last 14 games (3-10-1).

Columbus’ Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th career NHL game on Thursday while defenseman Jacob Christiansen made his debut in the league.

Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov was whistled for a holding penalty to send New Jersey to the power play early in the third period. The Devils took advantage after Hughes sent a centering feed to Bratt, who made no mistake in the slot at 1:16 of the period for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.

Hughes provided insurance by scoring into an empty net with 1:20 remaining in the third period.

New Jersey settled for a 1-1 draw after the first period despite holding a decisive 18-5 advantage in shots.

The Devils wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, however, as an unmarked Tatar backhanded the puck past Korpisalo just 51 seconds into the game. The goal was Tatar’s eighth of the season.

Columbus answered just over four minutes later to forge a tie. Gavrikov’s blast was denied by Blackwood, however the puck popped out of his glove and right to Domi for an easy conversion.

Devils rookie Dawson Mercer and Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine each hit the post in the second period. Mercer also found the iron in the third.

–Field Level Media