COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Cory Schneider was terrific in his 100th win with the New Jersey Devils. The veteran goalie got plenty of offensive help, too.
Stefan Noesen, Taylor Hall and rookie Jesper Bratt each had a goal and an assist as New Jersey beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Tuesday night. Schneider stopped 41 shots and shut out the Blue Jackets in the last two periods.
Travis Zajac also scored and rookie Nico Hischier had two assists for the Devils, one of several teams tussling with Columbus (17-10-1) for first place in the rugged Metropolitan Division with a third of the season in the books.
New Jersey coach John Hynes said Schneider was crucial in the opening period, which ended 1-1 with Columbus outshooting the Devils 16-11.
”In the first period, he was the biggest difference-maker for us,” Hynes said. ”But then I thought we gathered ourselves a little bit and played better in the second and third. But I think coming in against Columbus, and particularly in this building, he needed to be sharp early. They are a big, strong, heavy team. They put pucks to the net.”
Nick Foligno scored and Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost their second straight and continued to squander opportunities with the man advantage. They have the NHL’s worst power play, failing to find the back of the net on a half dozen opportunities Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets finished the game with a 5-on-3 advantage, and the home crowd voiced its displeasure when they came up empty again.
”It’s a little frustrating,” Columbus defenseman Seth Jones said about the grumbling by fans. ”But we’ve kind of done it to ourselves a little bit. It’s not like we’re not trying.”
The Devils (16-7-4) struck first when Zajac picked up a loose puck in front of the Blue Jackets net and poked it past Bobrovsky 4:24 into the first period.
Foligno tied it later in the first, just seconds after a Blue Jackets power play expired. He had his back to the net but deflected a shot from Oliver Bjorkstrand that beat Schneider.
The Devils goalie held Columbus at bay from there.
”We got it fed to us in the second and third periods,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.
At 4:47 of the second, Hischier slipped around Jones and slid a pass to a charging Hall , who chipped it in from the bottom of the left circle to put the Devils up 2-1.
New Jersey got a third goal with less than a minute left in the second period when Bobrovsky lost track of a deflected shot that Noesen tipped in . Bratt capped the scoring in the third.
”They come out hard in this building, and (Schneider) was great,” New Jersey forward Brian Boyle said. ”We got contributions from a lot of different guys.”
NOTES: Columbus D Markus Nutivaara missed a second game with an upper-body injury. … New Jersey D Steven Santini returned after being scratched the past two games. He replaced D Ben Lovejoy. D Dalton Prout and F Pavel Zacha also were scratches for the Devils. … The Blue Jackets assigned forward Sonny Milano to Cleveland of the American Hockey League after the rookie went without a goal in his last 16 games. … Blue Jackets forward Markus Hannikainen was scratched. … Retired NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. dropped the ceremonial first puck.
Devils: Host Columbus on Friday.
Blue Jackets: Play at New Jersey on Friday.
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