NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - In a season marked by a team record for injuries, getting a player back in the lineup was just what the Columbus Blue Jackets needed against the New Jersey Devils.
Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and an assist in returning from a concussion, and the injury-riddled Blue Jackets snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory Friday night.
“We were able to generate some chances in front of the net and that is why we won this game,” Dubinsky said. “I think from the outset, we were able to forecheck and get chances.
“We’re excited to get the win. We lost some games that we deserved to win. They put a lot of pressure on us down the stretch and we found a way to weather the storm.”
Dubinsky looked great after missing three games. He played almost 17 minutes, had 23 shifts, and worked on both the power play and penalty kill.
“It was a little bit of a worry, a scary experience for me,” said Dubinsky, who scored with each team playing with four skaters. “The real pain for me was in my neck, but they thought concussion, so it was best to get cleared and checked out. I’m just happy to get back playing. It’s been a tough season for me. It felt good to be back out there.”
Recently acquired defenseman Justin Falk got his first points of the season with a goal and an assist. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves as Columbus beat the Devils for the first time in three meetings this season.
Marko Dano also scored on a night the Blue Jackets set a single-season team record for total man-games lost to injury with 413, two more than the old mark.
Jordin Tootoo and Peter Harrold scored for New Jersey, which remains eight points behind Boston for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Time isn’t on our side and we’re running out of games, ” said goaltender Cory Schneider, who had 21 saves as the Devils lost at the Prudential Center for only the third time in 12 games (8-3-1). “Every game is critical and it gets tough to lose in regulation to a team we beat just a week ago. Hey, Columbus played hard.”
The Devils dominated the final two periods and came close to tying the score. Harrold, a defenseman playing a forward position, cut the lead to 3-2 with a great move on Falk and a shot over Bobrovsky’s shoulder at 6:36 of the third period.
Bobrovsky made an outstanding save on a blast by defenseman Eric Gelinas less than a minute later and he got lucky later when a deflection by Jacob Josefson hit off the post and slid across the crease.
The Devils pulled Schneider with less than a minute to play and got a good shot by defenseman Adam Larsson. Mike Cammalleri scored a couple of seconds after the final buzzer.
Falk and Dubinsky, who missed three games with his concussion, staked the Blue Jackets to a 2-0 lead with goals in the first and second periods, respectively.
Falk, acquired on Monday, gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead with a wrist shot from the left point that beat Schneider, who was being screened by Brian Gibbons. It was his first goal since January 2012, a span of 89 games
The goal was originally credited to Artem Anisimov, but it was changed late in the second period.
“I knew it had been a while, since my rookie year, but we’ll take it when they come,” said Falk, obtained from the Wild. “I’m excited to be here. It’s a fresh start for me. I feel more comfortable with my new teammates. I just have to go out there and play and not worry about things.”
Dubinsky, who got the secondary assist on Falk’s second career goal in 144 games, beat Schneider with a wrist shot early in the second period. Nick Foligno set up the goal, stealing Patrik Elias’ no-look pass at the Blue Jackets blue line and leading a 2-on-1 that Dubinsky capped with his ninth goal.
Tootoo got the Devils back in a game with a power-play goal. Adam Henrique set it up with a pass between his legs that Tootoo slammed home from point-blank range.
Dano stretched the margin to 3-1 with a goal that developed quickly. Falk sent a cross-ice pass that Alexander Wennberg redirected to Dano for a shot into the top of the net. The puck was in and out of the net so fast the shot had to be reviewed, and the goal was upheld.
NOTES: Schneider played in his 200th NHL game. … New Jersey is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first Stanley Cup title this weekend with a reunion of at least 20 players, coaches and team officials. … Devils F Steve Bernier got the best of Columbus D David Savard in a second-period fight. …Columbus was 0 for 2 on the power play, the Devils were 1 of 5.
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