Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice Saturday night -— including the game-winner in the third period — for the host Columbus Blue Jackets, who salvaged a split of a home-and-home by edging the New Jersey Devils, 4-3.
Cole Sillinger won a faceoff against the Devils’ Jack Hughes deep in the New Jersey zone to set up Bjorkstrand’s go-ahead goal, a sizzling slap shot that sailed beyond the glove of MacKenzie Blackwood at the 5:00 mark as the goalie was caught leaning in the other direction.
Bjorkstrand also scored the first goal for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in their last 15 games (4-10-1). Boone Jenner and Yegor Chinakhov also had goals for Columbus.
Goalie Joonas Korpisalo made 27 saves, including a point-blank stop of a Hughes backhand that preserved the lead with 2:55 left.
Nico Hischier, Jimmy Vesey and Marian Studenic scored for the Devils, who beat the Blue Jackets 3-1 on Thursday and are 4-2-0 since returning from the holiday break.
Blackwood recorded 30 saves.
Damon Severson was whistled for holding the stick just 42 seconds after faceoff to generate a successful power play for the Blue Jackets, who took the quick lead on Bjorkstrand’s first goal at the 2:01 mark.
Columbus doubled the lead 2:02 later, when Jenner was credited with a goal after his pass into the crease ticked off the stick of Hughes and into the net.
The Devils tied the score by forcing a pair of turnovers deep in the Blue Jackets’ zone and scoring twice in a span of 4:59 late in the period.
Vesey picked off Sean Kuraly’s pass to begin the sequence that ended with Hischier’s shot from the top of the slot sailing through a gaggle of players in front of Korpisalo with 5:19 left.
Vesey scored off a feed by Dawson Mercer – who intercepted Emil Bemstrom’s pass from behind the Blue Jackets’ net — to tie the game with 19.6 seconds remaining.
The teams traded rebound goals in a span of 3:01 in the second.
The Blue Jackets went ahead again when Chinakhov put back his shot at the 9:31 mark before Studenic’s rebound of his shot went through Korpisalo’s legs for the goal with 6:28 left.