- Associated Press - Friday, March 30, 2018

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - The Columbus Blue Jackets stayed hot thanks to a big night from rookie centre Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Dubois had his first career hat trick and the Blue Jackets beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Thursday night.

“We have a lot of experience in this room and I’m lucky enough to play with guys like (Artemi Panarin) and Cam (Atkinson), who are two amazing players,” Dubois said. “I want to keep winning and keep improving. It’s a great environment to learn in.”

Columbus earned its sixth straight road victory and 12th win in its past 13 games, and moved past the Philadelphia Flyers and into third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets are one point back of the second place Pittsburgh Penguins.

“We can’t control what the other teams do but if we keep winning, I think we’ll put ourselves in a pretty good spot,” Dubois added.

Markus Hannikainen and Markus Nutivaara also scored for Columbus. Dubois’ linemates Artemi Panerin and Cam Atkinson each had two assists.

Chris Stewart scored for Calgary, ruining Sergei Bobrovky’s shutout bid with 22 seconds left in the game.

The Flames have lost seven straight games, being outscored 33-8 over that span.

“We’re feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit too much,” Flames veteran Matt Stajan said. “These games are hard to play, but we’re in the NHL, we have to go after it a little bit better. We’re making way too many mistakes - turning pucks over, odd-man rushes - things that you lose hockey games because of.”

Columbus coach John Tortorella won his 128th game, moving him past Todd Richards into first on the club’s all-time list.

Because of an injury to Marcus Foligno (lower body), Dubois was re-united with Panarin and Atkinson on the top line in Edmonton on Tuesday and so far, so good. Dubois’ first multi-goal game came after the trio combined for two goals against the Oilers.

Making it 2-0 at 12:23 of the first period, Dubois’ first of the game came on a one-timer past rookie Jon Gillies after being set up neatly by Panarin.

Dubois’ second, making it 3-0 at 3:55 of the second, came after a sensational end-to-end rush by Atkinson, who wove his way down the ice, eventually sliding a backhand pass into the slot that Dubois snapped just inside the post.

He capped off his memorable night with a power-play goal at 15:23 of the third.

Eighteen goals on the season is a team record for goals by a rookie, surpassing Rick Nash’s 17 in 2002-03. The 2016 fourth overall pick has 44 points on the season, three back of Zach Werenski’s record for points by a rookie, set last season.

Calgary outshot the Blue Jackets 38-28, but as has been the theme lately for the injury-riddled club missing its three top goal scorers, the Flames struggled to get one past Bobrovsky.

Among the stops for the NHL’s reigning Vezina Trophy winner was a sprawling stop of Micheal Ferland in the first period. Early in the second, Bobrovsky stabbed his glove to snare a dangerous shot from 15 feet from Nick Shore.

With Sean Monahan (wrist), Matthew Tkachuk (upper) and TJ Brodie (upper body) among the injured Flames, Calgary lost defenseman Travis Hamonic (upper body) after he was shaken up in a collision late in the first period.

NOTES: The Flames have called up Spencer Foo from Stockton (AHL). He will make his NHL debut on Saturday against Edmonton. … Johnny Gaudreau (family matter) missed his second game, but he will rejoin the team on Friday. … Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky (illness) left the game in the second period.

UP NEXT:

Blue Jackets: Travel to Vancouver on Saturday.

Flames: Host Edmonton on Saturday night.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey


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