NEWARK, NJ – Jesper Bratt scored the green goal early in the third period, MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves and the New Jersey Devils defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Thursday night for their fourth win in five games.
The teams will complete the home-and-home series on Saturday evening in Columbus.
Bratt took a pass from Jack Hughes – who scored one goal and two assists – and whipped the puck past goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo in a power play at 1:16 to score his 10th goal of the season. Nathan Bastian also helped. The 23-year-old Bratt leads the Devils with 32 points and has scored two goals and six assists in his last five games.
Tomas Tatar also scored for New Jersey.
The Devils played without key strikers Yegor Sharangovich, Pavel Zacha and Andreas Johnsson due to the COVID-19 protocol, but were able to claim another victory as Blackwood saved in the first, seven in the second and seven more in the third parade.
Hughes added an empty shot on goal at 6:40 p.m. to seal victory, his ninth goal of the season. Hughes has a five-game points streak with four goals and eight assists.
Max Dimi scored for Columbus and Korpisalo made 25 parades. The Blue Jackets lost their third straight time and failed to score on four power play chances.
Tatar scored the lead for the Devils 51 seconds after the start of the game and tipped the puck past Korpisalo to score his eighth goal of the season. Domi equalized with his eighth goal at 4:54 of the first goal.
The Blue Jackets had postponed five games between December 18-28 due to COVID-19 issues and have only played four games since December 16.
Columbus striker Jakub Voracek played his 1,000th career game.
32-year-old Voracek was drafted seventh overall by Columbus in 2007 and played his first three NHL seasons for the Blue Jackets before being traded to Philadelphia, where he skated for 10 seasons. He rejoined the Blue Jackets last July in a trade that gave the Flyers Cam Atkinson.
NOTES: Blue Jackets defenseman Jake Christiansen made his NHL debut …
The Devils scratched defender Mason Geertsen and goalkeeper Jon Gillies…. New Jersey defender Dougie Hamilton was added to the injured list retrospectively January 2 after breaking his jaw that day against Boston … The Blue Jackets scratched forward Alexandre Texier, defender Gabriel Carlsson and goalkeeper Elvis Merzlikins.
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