COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Columbus Blue Jackets won another game with a strong finish.
Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 for their sixth straight win.
Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.
“I’ve never been on a team that’s been in this position at this point of the year,” Johnson said of his team’s surge. “And I’ve been in the league 10 years. You really appreciate it when you’re having a season like this.”
Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.
Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift.
Saad, Sedlak and Jones scored in a 5-minute span to make it 6-2 with 5:37 to go.
“You’re not going to play good when you make dumb decisions with the puck,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “It has nothing to do structurally. It has nothing to do goaltending-wise. We just made some bad decisions.”
New York’s third-string goalie Jean-Francois Berube then replaced Halak and stopped the one shot he faced in his season debut.
The Islanders came out quick and it took Columbus a while to get going. New York took a 1-0 lead 5:59 in when a defensive pass by the Blue Jackets’ Sam Gagner at the boards was deflected by Bailey, and the popup was bobbled by Bobrovsky into the net. Bailey was given credit for an unassisted goal.
“We just had to keep on playing, get our feet, simply our game, and I thought we did a good job with that,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said of the Blue Jackets’ slow start. “We’ve done a good job of that all year long, as far as just trying to play and not worry about what happened.”
The Blue Jackets tied it up on a power play with 6:01 left in the first when Johnson wound up from just inside the neutral zone and fired a bullet past Halak. It was Johnson’s first goal of the season.
Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky and New York’s Travis Harmonic went to the penalty box for 5 minutes each when both threw down the gloves and threw punches near the end of the first quarter.
Columbus took a 2-1 lead when a speeding Atkinson took a pass from Johnson in the neutral zone and beat Halak on the breakaway 10:16 into the second. New York tied with 7:28 left in the period when Tavares lifted the puck over Bobrovsky’s pad from in front of the net.
The Blue Jackets took off in the third period.
After Anderson gave Columbus the lead for good, Saad made it 4-2 on a wrister from the high slot at 9:23.
Sedlak, who scored his first NHL goal on Friday night, scored another when he tapped in a loose puck with 7:21 to go. Jones capped it with just over 5 1/2 minutes remaining.
“Our mindset is, whether we’re down by a goal or up by a goal, we’re still trying to press and get the next goal.” Atkinson said.
NOTES: Columbus is 9-1-1 in its last 11 home games. … Blue Jackets F Nick Foligno was a scratch because of illness for the second straight day. Oliver Bjorkstrand was called up from Cleveland (AHL) on Friday to replace him. … The Blue Jackets loaned D Dalton Prout to Cleveland on a conditioning assignment. … C Ryan Strome was back in the lineup for the Islanders after missing one game due to illness. … Islanders scratched G Thomas Greiss, D Scott Mayfield and LW Anthony Beauvillier. … Bobrovsky has allowed two goals or fewer in 18 of 23 games.
Islanders: Host Washington on Tuesday night.
Blue Jackets: At Edmonton on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game trip to western Canada.