COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Alexander Holtz, Nico Hischier and Nathan Bastian scored 6:03 apart during New Jersey's four-goal second period, and the Devils beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Friday night to snap a two-game skid.

John Marino also scored and Vitek Vanecek stopped 28 shots to help the Devils win for the third time in four meetings this season and move two points behind Tampa Bay and Detroit for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

“We played a solid game all night," New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. "We checked well. We created a lot of great opportunities just being in good positions and created foot races.”

Cole Sillinger scored for Columbus, and Elvis Merzlikins finished with 29 saves. The Blue Jackets have lost four of their last five games and have not managed to win two in a row at home this season.

Sillinger put Columbus ahead at 4:21 of the first period off a behind-the-back, through-the-legs feed from Yegor Chinakhov. Johnny Gaudreau’s secondary assist extended his point streak to three games.

The Devils tied it 28 seconds into the second period on Marino’s shot through the slot.

“We’ve been doing a better job of getting guys to the front of the net and taking away his (goalie’s) eyes," Marino said.

They took the lead with their three-goal flurry midway through the period.

Holtz shot on a wide-open net for his third goal in four games to make it 2-1 at 8:40. Cal Foote’s assist was his first point of the season, in his second game since being elevated from the AHL.

Hirscher’s long-range shot from between the circles with 6:29 remaining in the period made it 3-1, before Bastian padded the lead with a tap in from the right side of the crease 1:12 later made it a three-goal lead.

“One-on-one battles in the second period, that’s what we didn’t do,” Blue Jackets coach Pascale Vincent said. “Then one guy makes a mistake, and it’s in the back of the net.”

Sillinger looked to have his second goal with 2:19 left in the game, but it was waved off for offside.

The game marked the return of Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner, who missed 15 games dating back to Dec. 10 with a broken jaw.


Devils: Host Dallas on Saturday night.

Blue Jackets: At Edmonton on Tuesday night.



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