NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Adam Henrique scored twice, Jaromir Jagr netted the 699th goal of his career and the New Jersey Devils had a rare goal-scoring binge in defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Thursday night.
Ryane Clowe also scored and the special teams tallied twice on the power play and once short-handed as the Devils opened the post-Olympic break with a much-needed win if it wants to make the playoffs after missing last season.
Patrik Elias added a goal and two assists and Cory Schneider made 17 saves as New Jersey salvaged the final game of its four-game season series with Columbus (1-2-1).
Artem Anisimov scored for the Blue Jackets and set up one by Marian Gaborik.
The Devils, who had the NHL’s second-fewest goals (135) before the break, tallied three times in the 2:45 span early in the first period against Sergei Bobrovsky in taking the lead for good.
Clowe got the Devils going with a shot from the right circle on what seemingly was a three-for-one chance. Bobrovsky saved his first shot. The second was blocked and came back to Clowe, who tallied his fourth goal of the season on his third attempt.
Special teams took over from there.
With James Wisniewski off for interference, Bobrovsky made an outstanding stop on a rebound attempt by Jagr. The 42-year-old Czech got the rebound and stickhandled the puck around the prone goaltender and deposited into the net at 7:31. It was his 18th goal of the season and left him one shy of becoming the NHL’s seventh member of the 700-goal club.
Henrique pushed the lead to 3-0 at 8:54 by deflecting an Andy Greene point shot with Ryan Johansen off for hooking.
Columbus coach Todd Richards called a time out after the goal and it settled the Blue Jackets, who had been 12-5-1 since Jan. 1.
Anisimov got the Blue Jackets on the board with a gift from Schneider. The Russian backhanded a shot from the right corner and Schneider lost his position on the corner of the net and allowed it to sneak in.
Gaborik, who had missed Columbus’ last 22 games with a broken collarbone, cut the margin to 3-2 at 11:42 of the second period by knocking a puck out of the air and beating Schneider in close.
The Blue Jackets had the better of the play the rest of the period and seemingly were in position to tie the game when Travis Zajac was penalized for hooking with 34 second left in the period.
Columbus not only didn’t tie, but it fell behind two goals.
Defenseman Jack Johnson could not control the puck at the point and Elias floated an alley-oop pass over his stick to Henrique. He skated in on Bobrovsky and beat him between the pads for his 16th goal of the season.
Elias scored into an empty net in the final minute.
NOTES: The Devils, who were 0 for 12 on the power play in their last four games before the break, scored on their first two power plays. The Blue Jackets had killed off 23 straight penalties in their final five games before the break. … The three-goal period was only the sixth of the season for New Jersey, one goal shy of its season high against Carolina in November. … Columbus will be without D Fedor Tyutin for a couple of weeks because of an ankle injury suffered in the Olympics. … New Jersey lost RW Damien Brunner with lower-body injury after the first period.