COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – With All-Star Sergei Bobrovsky in the net, a team can get away with some not-so-energetic play from time to time.
Bobrovsky made 33 saves for his third consecutive shutout and the Columbus Blue Jackets handed the New Jersey Devils their eighth straight loss with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday night. Columbus did it despite being outshot and outplayed for most of the game.
Bobrovsky shut out the Devils for the second time in three days as he made 20 saves in a 3-0 win on Sunday.
Tuesday’s shutout was his career-high sixth this season. Bobrovsky has not allowed a goal since the Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime on Feb. 28.
“It’s an achievement as a team, and it’s not done yet, so I will enjoy it tonight and get ready for the next one,” said the low-key Bobrovsky, who rarely fields a compliment without crediting his teammates.
Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored third-period goals for Columbus, which leads Pittsburgh by two points for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Columbus opened the scoring at 9:39 of the third when Sam Gagner chipped the puck out from behind the net to Bjorkstrand, who slammed it past Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid. Atkinson added his 30th of the season, an empty-net goal with 1:16 left – nine seconds after the Devils pulled Kinkaid for an extra skater.
New Jersey outshot the Blue Jackets 33-25 and played better until Columbus started to get going late in the second period.
Kinkaid, the backup goaltender, played well for the Devils, stopping 24 shots.
“I thought we played a really good game today,” said Kinkaid, who hasn’t been in a game since he allowed six goals against the New York Islanders on Feb. 19. “Bobrovsky was the difference.”
New Jersey coach John Hynes agreed.
“We did everything but score,” he said.
New Jersey outshot Columbus 16-9 in the first period on Tuesday after getting 20 shots total in Sunday night’s loss to the Blue Jackets.
The Devils got plenty of good looks against Bobrovsky, but he was outstanding in keeping the game scoreless.
“Bob made some key saves at key times for us,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “I like how we played our third period. I thought we grabbed a little bit and found a way to grind one out. We kept our patience.”
New Jersey had a goal late in the first period waived off because Dalton Prout’s shot was deflected in by a high stick by Taylor Hall in the left circle.
The Blue Jackets are 4-1-1 since their NHL-mandated five-day break at the end of February. But Tortorella acknowledged his team was tired and wasn’t passing the puck well.
“That’s as close as we’ve come to a clunker since the break,” he said. “But we found a way in the third period to generate enough energy and find a way to win.”
NOTES: New Jersey captain Andy Greene missed his third straight game following the death of his father Saturday. … Columbus F Josh Anderson is out 7 to 10 days with a knee injury. As a result, Columbus recalled C T.J. Tynan from Cleveland of the AHL on Monday. He made his NHL debut. … Kinkaid started in goal to spell Cory Schneider, who played the past six games. … Columbus D Marcus Nutivaara returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three consecutive games. D Ryan Murray was scratched with a lower-body injury. … Devils F Michael Cammalleri missed his third straight game with an upper body injury. … Devils D Ben Lovejoy played in his 400th NHL game.
New Jersey: Plays at Colorado on Thursday.
Columbus: Hosts Buffalo on Friday.